LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL 2015
In Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden all the action takes place in and around rickety trailers in a snow-covered and isolated community; exposed to the elements under a wide-open sky. In the middle of nowhere, this tiny community is tearing itself apart.
There is an underlying narrative going on about the consequences of an extra-marital affair but the piece mostly consists of fragmented images of despair and escapism, which are realised through the well-honed technique and elastic bodies of the performers.
Seoljin Kim fights against a howling wind, clinging to the edge of a trailer and lifting his whole body into the air, as if about to be blown away. Jos Baker carries Maria Carolina Vieira wrapped over his shoulders, like a larger than life snood. Hun-Mok Jung touching himself in his white underwear, his “reverie” interrupted by a group of cheerful skiers. At the close Baker held Viera by her mouth and threw her around like a puppet; for me the most engaging duet of the whole performance. A powerful image of emotional dominance and frustration.
The soundscape is tense, electronic and De Beul sings from the “Casta Diva” to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.
But despite the individual brilliant moments and despite the combination of horror, slapstick and trickery, 32 rue Vandenbranden is slow and heavy. It’s surrealism alienating and bland. It gains momentum after the second half. The Baker and Viera duet demonstrates the unused potential that would have allowed creating an intense performance.