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Interviews & Reviews 2021


The Observer
5 Short Films - 4 star review >


London International Mime Festival: 5 Short Films review – now everyone can watch.

As this year’s event goes virtual, five newly commissioned videos showcase the diversity of its artists. "This week, from my attic, I’ve been watching short films commissioned by the London international mime festival’s ever resourceful directors, Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, reacting to current restrictions by moving events online. For the first time since its 1977 debut, people worldwide can experience the crazy diversity of work for which the festival is justly famous. BSL interpreter Jacqui Beckford’s Nothing Compares 2U was actually made during a live performance of Charleroi Danses’s production Kiss & Cry at LIMF 17. The black-and-white film focuses on Beckford as she signs the eponymous song with a depth of expression and feeling that wrenches the soul. The tension of the rapport between her and the performance is palpable, making me long for the return of live theatre; online, after all, offers only partial compensation.”

**** Clare Brennan 25 Jan 2021

Nothing Compares 2U - Jacqui Beckford
Watch now >

BBC Radio 4 Front Row
5 Short Films Review >


The London International Mime Festival started this week, online only this year, and as part of that they’ve commissioned five original short films – between three and 10 minutes each – which are available to view free. Critic Sarah Crompton reviews the five very different works.

"One of the working definitions of mime is that it is what anybody says it is. It’s main communicative power comes from movement and action, but also soundtrack is incredibly important. One of the joys of these 5 short films is the sense of compression. We both watched the Jacqui Beckford over and over again - It’s such a beautiful piece. I did love in marked contrast Gavin Glover, who is a micro cinema maker - he makes an extraordinary little horror film called Bleak House with miniaturised furniture, and with an extraordinary soundtrack. Very David Lynch. Absolutely chilling.”

Bleak House - Gavin Glover
Watch now >

The Guardian
Festival Preview >


"The annual extravaganza presents more than two dozen full shows from the past 30 years including performances by legendary mimes Nola Rae, Jos Houben and Paolo Nani, plus leading companies such as Ockham’s Razor, Gecko and Peeping Tom. There’s puppetry, juggling, drag, dance and more than one artist slathering themselves in wet clay. The festival never fails to surprise, so you could dive into any of these shows at random though we have a soft spot for the mischievous bunny in the French company Les Antliaclastes’ Waltz of the Hommelettes."

Waltz of the Hommelettes - Les Antliaclastes
Free streamed 18-31 January 2021 >

Daily Telegraph
4 star review >


Prince songs and pole-dances: the London International Mime Festival is (quietly) back.

"The annual LIMF offers an online bonanza. There are five short films, including an exquisite account of the Prince song Nothing Compares 2U, relayed in British Sign Language, a wondrous pole-dance by Kristin McGuire, and new work from multimedia artists Davy and Kristin McGuire. There's also a video vault of past productions, drawn from France, Italy, Belgium and Russia, in happier times."

**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Vertigo - Kristin & Davy McGuire
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Daily Telegraph
Festival Review >


"That long commitment to inclusion and innovation is reaffirmed in the first (monochrome) film, in which performer Jacqui Beckford delivers a British Sign Language accompaniment to a shuffling jazz rendition of the Prince weepie Nothing Compares 2 U. Her mournful hand-play speaks volumes: vanishing love is denoted by a fist flung out and fluttering into fingers, she cradles her head in one palm to depict long days in bed, and the evaluative title line entails a weighing of hands and a pointing at the distant other. Simple but achingly beautiful."
**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Nothing Compares 2U - Jacqui Beckford
Watch now >

Daily Telegraph
Festival Review >


"Next up is Andrew Dawson with Proximity. The time-honoured MimeFest participant is found standing on a chair in the middle of an urban common. He calmly conducts a deadpan ritual of intricate hand-play, arm-swinging and balancing. This solemn carry-on is juxtaposed with his surroundings in such a way that he seems to be not just copying but deeply communing with the arboreal splendour around him, lost in a realm of oblivion as dogs chase across the grass or an airplane streaks the sky."
**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Proximity - Andrew Dawson
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Daily Telegraph
Festival Review >


"For something more peculiar, and far darker, head for Gavin Glover’s Bleak House, which snoops inside a very grotty miniaturised house, through which a cot-bed hurtles on a pulley, baby gurgles offset against recriminatory adult voices. A jostling congregation of arm-chairs round the cot and telling dribble under it provides a sinister evocation of unspeakable abuse. What starts by being quaintly charming becomes truly disturbing."
**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Bleak House - Gavin Glover
Watch now >

Daily Telegraph
Festival Review >


"Toby Sedgwick is Bernard Knowes utilises flickering home-movie footage (both pastiche and also, it appears, real), along with music fey and fairground-esque, to spirit up an eccentric family defined by its large nose, jutty-out teeth and fondness for otherworldly silliness. It’s at once preposterous and poignant."
**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Toby Sedgwick ...is Bernard Knowes
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Daily Telegraph
Festival Review >


"Best of the bunch, though, is Kristin and Davy McGuire’s Vertigo, which uses digital projections onto gauze to transform a sensuous pole-dance by the former into an image of humanity – in its grace and loneliness – moving through time and space. With artistry and technical precision, a shifting matrix of light accompanies, entwines and engulfs the movement to the sound of a heavenly Agnus Dei. Stunning. I could watch it on a loop for hours."
**** Dominic Cavendish 19 Jan 2021

Vertigo- Kristin and Davy McGuire
Watch now >

Total Theatre review >
Andrew Dawson - Proximity >


"For Andrew Dawson, this is a particularly special project – a film made with his son, Roman Sheppard Dawson – and he muses on the fact that without the pandemic, he may not have made the film. Even terrible events bring blessings. In lockdown with his partner and their two adult children, who returned home for the duration, Andrew found that when he was offered the commission he just happened to have a professional filmmaker resident in the house, making the whole thing far more do-able. Roman is not only a Moving Image graduate from St Martin’s art school, he has also grown up with his father’s work, and has often travelled with him, teching the shows – so they work well together. In many ways, Andrew muses, this new piece is as much his son’s work as his own – a true collaboration, enhanced by the soundtrack by composer Jonny Pilcher, who is another person Dawson has regularly worked with, although in this case the collaboration was online."
Dorothy Max Prior Jan 2021

Proximity - Andrew Dawson
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Daily Mail
Space Panorama 4 star review >


"Andrew Dawson's delightful recreation of the 1969 lunar landing; performed with only the artist's head and hands."
**** Patrick Marmion 15 Jan 2021

Space Panorama
Free streamed 18-31 January 2021 >

Stagedoor
Festival preview >


Watch dazzling circus, dizzying acrobats and plastic bag puppetry at this year's online celebration of four decades of visual theatre. Some of the UK’s finest companies including Complicite, Improbable, and Told by an Idiot would have found it harder to get where they are today without LIMF. “We’re a place for the waifs and strays of the theatre world,” says Lannaghan, and part of the clout of the festival is that it allows those shows to gain access to partner venues such as the Barbican, the South Bank and Sadler's Wells, where they wouldn’t otherwise be programmed.
Lyn Gardner 15 Jan 2021

Peeping Tom 32 Rue Vandenbranden
Free streamed 22-24 January 2021 >

Total Theatre
Festival preview >


"It’s January, and we know what that means – the London International Mime Festival is back with another wonderful array of ‘image-rich performance for an adventurous and curious audience’.
With activity switched online, LIMF 2021 is offering a series of five new short films, a videotheque of documented shows by renowned artists, a truly outstanding package of workshops led by top industry professionals, plus a series of ten talks by distinguished Mime Festival participants from recent years, delivered digitally."

Dorothy Max Prior Jan 2021

Main photo: Gecko The Wedding © Richard Haughton
Free streamed 29-31 January 2021 >