• London International Mime Festival

    MPTA/Mathurin Bolze, Du Goudron Et Des Plumes | photo Christophe Raynaud de Lage

    The most resolutely outward-looking of the UK's visual theatre festivals (it imports the large majority of its programme) and perhaps now the oldest, LIMF has been running over 30 years and a look back at the programme archive proves their eye for for picking the greats before they've made it. In London, and, more widely, the country, it's unchallenged in size and reach. Certainly there's nothing else going in January.

    It's not a hub festival, strung as it is over two weeks and half a dozen central London venues, and the workshops it offers annually are half-hearted – in the main it's the same people running them each year, and the incoming artists and companies, who in some cases have come many hundred of miles, are seldom drawn upon.

    Over the years the festival has built up strong relationships with particular companies and artists (Aurelien Bory and Collectif Petit Travers have been favourites in recent years), and there are other recognisable trends to the programming – you can for instance be sure that there will be a Kids and Granny show, something gentle and soft and suitable for the whole family – but you can be sure too that there will be something unlike anything that's gone before.

    And there will always, always be at least one show that reflects the festival's taste for – relish for – the weird and the inscrutable. There are plenty of programmes out there that encompass strange or outlying work, but LIMF's unique victory has been to establish itself as the festival where mainstream audiences seek and pay for exactly this quality of esoterism – even if they do it only once a year. Hence and therefore: Buchinger’s Boot Marionettes.

  • Events Archive

    Upswing, Fallen | Photo: Hilary Shedel
    24/01/2011 to 26/01/2011
    Purcell Room
    Zimmermann & de Perrot, Hans Was Heiri | Photo: Mario Del Curto
    23/01/2013 to 26/01/2013
    The Barbican
    Circo Aereo: Un Cirque Plus Juste | Photo: Philippe Laurençon
    20/01/2011 to 22/01/2011
    The Roundhouse
    Compagnie L'Immédiat / Camille Boitel, L'Immédiat | Photo: Vincent Beaume
    18/01/2012 to 21/01/2012
    The Barbican
    The Sugar Beast Circus, {Event(Dimension):}
    27/01/2012 to 29/01/2012
    Jacksons Lane
    Fet a Mà, Cru | Photo: Arthur Bramao
    20/01/2014 to 22/01/2014
    Purcell Room
    Atelier Lefeuvre & André, Le Jardin
    28/01/2011 to 30/01/2011
    Linbury Studio Theatre
    My!Laika, Popcorn Machine | Photo: MONA
    12/01/2013 to 15/01/2013
    Purcell Room
    Compagnie MPTA / Mathurin Bolze, Du Goudron et des Plumes | C. Raynaud de Lage
    26/01/2011 to 29/01/2011
    The Barbican
    Ockham's Razor, Not Until We Are Lost
    10/01/2013 to 12/01/2013
    Platform Theatre


  • Magazine

    By John Ellingsworth on 27 November 2012 in Features

    "Plan B was the second piece, conceived by Aurélien but directed by Phil Soltanoff, a very uncompromising artist who Aurélien seems to find a big spark with. Yes, it's a slightly different aesthetic from some of his other works, but I think that Aurélien has progressed with every show he's done. It's gotten more complex. It's got more layers to it now. I think Plan B was an amazing step forward: who knows how people will see it now, but 10 years ago people who saw it were very deeply impressed."

    Mime Festival directors Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan talk about the six circus shows (and one not-dance show) from January's programme.

    By John Ellingsworth on 30 January 2012 in Reviews

    With blank-faced women costumed in red, white and black uniforms (an enigmatic A striped across each of their backs), looped performances, video and sound, and subject matter that touches bizarrely on the mathematical nature of reality, being welcomed into the {Event(Dimension):} space feels a little like entering a museum that hasn’t had a visitor for a thousand years and where the meaning of the exhibits has been eroded half away.

    By John Ellingsworth on 29 January 2012 in Reviews

    There’s an unnamed malaise spreading through L’Immédiat: characters slip from chairs or slump to the ground like dropped coats, crawl and heave to cross the distance of a few feet, have the greatest difficulty standing or walking upright. Even the set has trouble keeping it together.

    By John Ellingsworth on 11 October 2011 in Interviews

    'The proposition on which I mean to insist at present, is simply this, that fringes of colours are produced by the interference of two portions of light; and I think it will not be denied by the most prejudiced, that the assertion is proved by the experiments I am about to relate, which may be repeated with great ease, whenever the sun shines, and without any other apparatus than is at hand to every one.' — Thomas Young preparing to describe the first double-slit experiment to the Royal Society in 1803

    A piece taking its inspiration from the differences between quantum and particle physics, featuring lycraed supergirls, black holes and volcanoes, and based on a famously baffling experiment... John Ellingsworth talks to Sugar Beast Circus director Geneva Foster Gluck about the company’s new show {Event(Dimension):}.

    By John Ellingsworth on 29 January 2011 in Reviews

    Different nations have different kinds of stage nudity, I think. Australian nakedness is blokey and exhibitionist, Scandinavian is black and white and full-frontal, Eastern European is durational and probably smeared in something, while the French variety is matter-of-fact, broad, comic, casual – family nudity.

    By John Ellingsworth on 27 January 2011 in Reviews

    I feel like I've seen a lot of these now: expensive Mime Festival shows where the spectacle and technical ingenuity of some gigantic, indulgent piece of equipment overwhelms the theatrical, social or political intelligence that might, buried, lie underneath.

    By Helena Rampley on 26 January 2011 in Reviews

    A West African woman is inexplicably taken away from her home. Held against her will in a prison, she is miles from her husband, her child and everything she knows. Punished for her unexplained crimes in an unknown world, this woman is both fallen from her homeland and perceived as fallen in nature.

    By John Ellingsworth on 23 January 2011 in Reviews

    Like an exhibit in the storehouse of a museum, a dark bulk wrapped in black polythene. The light is low and there is no one to see – no one but us – as the shape beneath the plastic flexes, moving slowly. Cautiously it twists and opens, becomes larger, the sheet stretching to disguise its form.

    By John Ellingsworth on 21 January 2011 in Reviews

    There's excellent music choice. As tiny flickering lanterns, held one to a finger, are drawn sinuously through the air like the carriages of a train or the body of a lighted serpent: a French chanteuse, a singer in the night.

    By John Ellingsworth on 5 January 2011 in Interviews

    'I think storytelling for me doesn't come from England, it comes from my heritage – storytelling in Africa, in Ghana, its not just entertainment, it's a means of communication. When I talk to my mother – it's hard to explain... even the language in Africa: something that can be said in a couple of words in English, the same phrase in Africa is a much, much more flowery phrase. It's much more proverbial and things are told in analogies and connections, so I think I've been brought up with that interest in stories.'

    Upswing's artistic director Vicki Amedume talks to Sideshow about her background in traditional circus, her interest in working stories into non-text-based work, the particular problems and quirks of devising circus, and where all these strands meet: the company's new show, Fallen.

    By John Ellingsworth on 28 January 2010 in Reviews

    Circus has always understood the appeal of the mechanical process. It's intrinsic to the artform at close examination, but just in the course of LIMF10 ideas in this line have taken more explicit form in The Mill (a giant, human-powered factory) and Öper Öpis (an unstable, tilting stage).

    By John Ellingsworth on 27 January 2010 in Reviews

    Bring on the gallows! A trapdoor in the floor is thrown back and the gallows carried in, fixed in place over a tank of water, and strung with a perforated metal box that contains two animate badger skulls (brothers). In punishment for their disobedience, they are lowered into the water and held there for several minutes.

    By John Ellingsworth on 24 January 2010 in Reviews

    I think really I had my fill of Okidok with their first Mimefest showing, Slips Inside, and going back within a week to see their second piece was never going to show them in their best light.

    By John Ellingsworth on 23 January 2010 in Reviews

    Gosh, I wouldn't have wanted to be the man, just across the aisle from me, who got pulled up on stage and held there for the production's entire second half.

    By John Ellingsworth on 22 January 2010 in Reviews

    There is a stone. A deep, obsidian black, it is wrapped in white cloth, held in a square of light, until a man comes to unwrap it. It is not something he's found, but something he has been drawn back to, a token of his past that he swallows and carries like the memory of a sin.