The London International Mime Festival

Running until 2 February 2020, Mime London has shows across nine venues offering the best of contemporary visual theatre. Now in its 44th year, ten overseas companies and eight British companies perform in a festival directed by Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig.

Events still booking across London

Trygve Wakenshaw in Only Bones v1.4 at the Soho Theatre (on to 25 January). Runs 60 minutes.

Trygve Wakenshaw. Image courtesy MIME London
Trygve Wakenshaw. Image courtesy MIME London

“Trygve Wakenshaw’s Only Bones v1.4 raises a finger, as well as most other limbs, to the rule books and the people that write them. This is a hilarious new minimalist extravaganza. It skewers the rule makers, the enforcers, the abiders, and screams “wake up sheeple!” as it politely waits for the traffic lights to change. This is micro-physical comedy unlike anything you’ve seen (unless you’ve seen Thomas Monckton’s Only Bones v1.0)”

String Theatre’s The Water Babies at the Puppet Barge (on to 2 February). Runs 60 minutes.

Tom and fairies in The Water Babies. Image copyright String Theatre.
Tom and fairies in The Water Babies. Image copyright String Theatre.

“After a harsh beginning of child labour in an unforgiving adult world, a little chimney sweep’s suffering ends when he is transformed into a water baby. As he plunges into an underwater realm of fish, caterpillars and caddisflies we are drawn into his adventures in the colourful depths, swept along with his dreams and new freedom. With specially commissioned music, beautiful, long-string marionettes and ghostly shadows, this gorgeous new production inspired by Charles Kingsley’s famous novel explores themes of loss, friendship and transformation.”

Still Hungry’s Raven at Jacksons Lane (on to 23 January). Runs 55 minutes.

Raven by Still Hungry. Image by Daniel Porsdorf.
Raven by Still Hungry. Image by Daniel Porsdorf.

“Fresh, truthful, poignant, laced with humorous insight and told through personal experience and world class aerial and acrobatic skills, Raven shines a spotlight on dilemmas faced by every working mother. Pitch perfect in combining language and movement, the result is both thoughtful and thrilling circus-theatre.”

Nick Lahane’s Chimpanzee at Barbican Pit (on to 25 January, returns only). Runs 60 minutes.

Chimpanzee. Image by Richard Termine.
Chimpanzee. Image by Richard Termine.

“Three highly skilled puppeteers invest feeling, expression and delicately nuanced movement to the beautifully crafted creature of this poignant non-verbal production, which conveys shifts in time and place through haunting sound and lighting. Written and created by Brooklyn-based Nick Lehane, it is distilled from the real stories of apes once fostered into American families only to be abandoned to science as they reach maturity.”

Joli Vyann in Anima at the Purcell Room (on to 23 January). Runs 60 minutes.

Joli Vyann - Anima. Image by Red Manhatten Photography.
Joli Vyann – Anima. Image by Red Manhatten Photography.

“We all breathe from the moment we are born to the moment we die, it’s a universal shared experience. Joli Vyann’s new show Anima portrays the delicate connection between two people and takes us on a journey, from the cradle to the grave, through an intimate look at the simple, yet constant, act of breathing.”

Galactick Ensemble’s Optraken at The Peacock (on to 1 February). Runs 60 minutes.

Galatick Ensemble. Image by N Martinez.
Galatick Ensemble. Image by N Martinez.

“In Optraken five fantastic acrobats pit themselves against a hostile environment. Unstable ground disappears underfoot, walls wobble, ceilings collapse, dangers come from every side. Forget elegant tumbling and spangly tights – this wonderfully inventive and original piece of acrobatic theatre is a battle in which every movement matters for survival. It’s spectacular, impressive, unpredictable and enormous fun.”

Kiss and Cry Collective’s Cold Blood at Barbican Theatre (on to 1 February). Runs 80 minutes.

Cold Blood. Image by Julien Lambert.
Cold Blood. Image by Julien Lambert.

“In this wonderfully whimsical production, the story of seven surprising deaths takes audiences into an array of scenarios that touch on the fleeting fragility of life. Watch as performers and crew conjure visuals onstage or simply succumb to the beautifully detailed kaleidoscopic vistas appearing on film. From the razzamatazz of a Fred and Ginger-style dance number to a floating figure in outer space, from a ravaged war-torn cityscape to the recreation of an iconic Boléro ballet. Set to classic and contemporary music including Ravel, David Bowie and Janis Joplin, Cold Blood brings together intricate hand choreography, tiny props, live cinema and a witty script.”

Additional events

There are after-show discussions on most days of the festival, plus workshops for those wishing to engage further in the art of mime and movement (those still open for booking are running at Jacksons Lane).

For further details on the London International Mime Festival, go to Mime London, where you can also access freesheets for many of the shows.

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