London International Mime Festival 2016

The London International Mime Festival is a world-leading extravaganza of visual theatre, packing I a huge amount and variety of performance art into 29 days of performances, films, workshops and discussions courtesy of artists from across the world: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the UK are all due to be represented at the 2016 event.

The festival will be spread out over various of London’s most iconic theatrical and artistic venues, many of which are tourist attractions in themselves:the Barbican Theatre, the Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre are all playing host to performances. Other venues include Jacksons Lane, The Peacock, and the Shaw Theatre. Marble Arch by Montcalm is a luxurious property on Edgware Road, perfect for those looking for hotels in central London who are visiting for the festival.

The 2016 will be opened with a masterclass in comic acting from Jos Houben and Marcello ‘Marcel’Magni, who explore the pitfalls of ageing with a beautifully designed piece of physical theatre, Marcel.Houben will also be presenting The Art of Laughter, an hour of hilarious observational comedy which has been performed around the world and always has the audience in stitches. This show has been performed twice at the International Mime Festival before and has quickly sold out on both occasions, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. Already sold out is the UK premiere of Xavier Bobés’ Things Easily Forgotten, which upholds his reputation for telling stories with bold, powerful visual imagery. The show presents a brief history of Spain in the second half of the twentieth century to audiences of five people in an intimate, salon setting.

Exhibiting incredible displays of physical prowess are Ockham’s Razor, whose new show, Tipping Point, builds on the sell-out success of Not Until We Are Lost. Five performers use simple metal poles to create a magical world, with the poles acting as a literal framework for the imagination of the audience: as the actors climb, balance on and swing from the poles, the stage becomes a forest, crossroads, or pendulum. There’s a philosophical element to the performance too, as befits the troupe’s name: their manipulation of the poles represents the judgements between attempting to impose order on a disordered world or riding it out as life tilts towards the ‘tipping point’. Musos will love the soundtrack courtesy of AdemIlham& Quinta, whose credits include work with Radiohead’s Philip Selway, Bat For Lashes and Hot Chip.

For those looking for a fright, scares are served up in spades by the Netherlands’ brilliant JakopAhlbom Company, with the aptly named show Horror.In a classic haunted house tale, a young woman returns to a now-deserted mansion and comes face-to-face with some uncomfortable figures from her past. Horror offers laughs to offset the fright, and references Gothic horror tales as well as cinematic classics of the genre like The Shining and The Exorcist. While often gruesome and genuinely scary, younger kids would be advised to steer clear of this show, but older ones should be OK – 14+ is the recommendation.

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