The London International Mime Festival has quickly become one of my January highlights – c’mon, what else is there to get excited about during this miserable (taxing) month? – and my first performance of the season was a puppetry show at the London Roundhouse. The puppetry shows are always appealing because they invariably showcase some stunning leftfield creativity of the type that would never find its way onto a bigger theatre stage. And the Mime Festival picks out the cream of the crop so you are almost certainly assured of an interesting performance.
Plucked… a true fairy tale was created by new company Invisible Thread, directed by Liz Walker, who is a former director of the Faulty Optic theatre of animation. She brings her expertise in creating ‘cronky mechanical sets‘ and odd animated figures to her new project, which features a couple of bird people, a baby train, a little person with a hammer in its head and a wolf with a detachable penis that looks like a hallucinogenic mushroom.
Plucked, invisible thread by Katie Chappell.
The story (such as there is one) sprawls across two scenes, with near life size figures manipulated by Liz and cohorts. Despite the fact that the puppeteers are very much part of the stage you soon loose sight of them and concentrate on the oddball puppet characters instead, who take us on a meandering story that is explained by poetry and a beautiful lightbox paint brush animation.
The allegorical story told by Plucked is by turns touching, amusing (puppet shagging is a first for me, as is puppet birth) and thought provoking. Suffice to say that our love affair with television has a lot to answer for! Keep an eye on Invisible Thread to follow their next projects. This show ends on Sunday 22nd January, but there are plenty of other shows to see at the Mime Festival.
- London International Mime Festival: Where Performance Art meets Circus and Narrative
- Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl: a review of the Mime Festival 2011 show at the Barbican
- Review: The Devil and Mister Punch by Improbable at the Barbican
- Hilum by Les Antliaclastes: ICA London International Mime Festival Review
- Du Goudron et des Plumes: Barbican London International Mime Festival 2011 Review