The 22nd London International Mime Festival runs from Jan 15 to 30, and will feature some 15 companies from around the world at venues throughout the capital including the South Bank Centre and ICA.
Including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning and vaudeville, this annual festival of visual theatre opens at the South Bank's Purcell Room with Deadly (Jan. 15-19), a portrayal of the Seven Deadly Sins performed by New Zealander Deborah Pope and Brazilian Rodrigo Matheus against a background of music from techno to classical. Also in the Purcell Room, Italy's Paolo Nani performs The Letter (Jan. 20-23), in which one short story is re-told in many ways; Belgium's Mossoux Bonte presents Gradiva (Jan. 24-26), which explores the relationship between performers and puppets; and Spain's Marti-Atanasiu present Inuit (Jan. 27-30), a series of silent, bittersweet sketches performed by Catalan performers Xavier Marti and Christian Atanasiu.
In the South Bank's Queen Elizabeth Hall, France's Le Quatuor (Jan. 21-23) is described as "the ultimate string quartet", who play Bach, the Beatles and most everything else in between. Not only that, they also dance, sing and chance the laws of gravity with some unlikely acrobatics.
At the ICA, France's Aberrations du Documentaliste (Jan. 25-27) is offered to an audience of only 35 spectators at a time by puppeteers Ezechiel Garcia-Romeu and Francois Tomsu and actor Jacques Fornier. Also at the ICA, UK company Faulty Optic present Snuffhouse Dustlouse (Jan. 17-20), described as a poignant tale of a half-human, half-sack figure whose obsessive daily rituals are threatened by the sudden arrival of an outsider; Russia's Tanya Khabaravoa, a founder member of the contemporary Russian clown ensemble Derevo, performs Reflection (Jan. 21-23); and Germany's Figurentheater Tubingen performs Flamingo Bar (Jan. 28-30), a tale of seduction and desire set in the seedy eponymous bar.
Other companies appear at Hoxton Hall, North London's Pleasance Theatre, Canary Wharf and Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. Further details: www.mimefest.co.uk
-- By Mark Shenton, What's On Stage
What's On Stage, London