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BabaFish: Expiry Date

Barbican Centre, London

Expiry Date is about an old man, Joseph, alone in his last hour, with his memories. In the centre of the stage a huge jar of sand tips upside down, grains streaming out; around and across the stage dominoes; various contraptions with levers, pulleys and pendulums.

The three performers play out the old man’s memories and feelings, which they all end in arguments and dominoes set in motion; garments are thrown on the stage; there’s juggling, screaming and singing. The quirky set is an intrinsic part of the performance.

There is not much of a narrative to follow, it’s more disjointed impressions of a life, which always get twisted, whether because that’s what actually happened, or because the old man’s illness and suffering distorts them, it’s hard to decipher.

And yet, despite the impressive and to say the least inventive set and the excellent performances from the cast, the whole performance is incoherent. A lot of individual images or circus routines that are grasping, but the overall feeling is that of an ambitious performance trying to cram in as much symbolism and meaning as possible, which ultimately does not work.

  • Physical Theatre
  • Created and performed by Thomas Hoeltzel, Laura Laboureur, Anna Nilsson and Jef Stevens
  • Directed by Sara Lemaire and Anna Nilsson
  • Design conceived by Jan Nilsson and Anna Nilsson
  • London International Mime Festival
  • Barbican Centre, London
  • 19-23 January 2016
  • Time: 19:45
  • Review by Katerina Yannouli
  • 21 January 2016

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