London MIME Festival 2022

Reviewer's rating

This is a mime piece about ghosts, fairies and parenthood and a great deal more than just that!

Staged by Theatre Re – one of the UK’s leading visual theatre companies – it is a must-see in this year’s Mime Festival. Theatre Re has indeed attracted national and international reputation for creating world class, deeply moving, and visually striking poetic theatre. It was the first time I had the chance to watch their work live – and it certainly won’t be the last.

In the course of the one hour performance, the multi-talented ensemble mesmerised the audience with their physicality, their skill, their storytelling, and live music. Bluebelle isa wonderful, and quite mystical, tale about parenthood and the value of life. The story is simple. We follow a couple – the King and the Queen – trying to have a child. With the help of a Fairy, they overcome their fertility problem and soon welcome into their lives their baby daughter. The scenes with the two parents caring for their daughter are very moving, while the strength they find to protect her from danger is empowering.

What makes the production stand out is, of course, the togetherness of the ensemble. They perform with tremendous skill, energy and immediacy. There are moments of beautiful high tension, of heightened physicality, moments of shared unity and moments of magic. Their visual and poetic style was striking, while the perfect use of live music (we must acknowledge the work by co-composers Alex Judd and Henry Webster) would not let you lose an instance of the beautiful storytelling. Judd and Webster did not just accompany the rest of the performers, but they almost ‘conducted’ them. There was a perfect synergy between the music and the rest of the storytelling. Truly brilliant!

The lighting, set and costume design were minimal – but nonetheless effective.  There were a couple of great props used (for example the giant plastic ball) and the overall concept with the ropes added a sense of ‘fairytale magic’ – with objects appearing as if from the sky – but perhaps lacked the same mastery that the physicality of the world showed. 

Theatre Re state as inspirations for this piece the plots and characters from ancient folktales collected by Angela Carter, Italo Calvino, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault as well as interviews with parents and carers. A wonderful project, reminding us of the importance of storytelling

They took us on a journey exploring how challenging being a parent can be. A rollercoaster of fear and love.

This is a show that ought to be seen by a wider audiences. This was yet another reminder of how invaluable London International Mime Festival is. Its unique and rich programming truly enhances London’s scene.