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Barbican Centre, London

LIFT OFF (Je brasse de l’air)
4.0Reviewer's Rating

Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air) constructs a unique relationship between the human and the mechanical, drawing you directly into the heart of an immeasurably creative world.

Performed in French and English by Magali Rousseau, Lift Off is an immersive experience of ambition and desire. Rousseau guides the audience through a family narrative, interweaving the absurd and the fantastic, illustrated by delicate, imaginative machines. Rousseau’s dramatic story of her childhood desire to fly brings together the boundless imagination of a child and her masterful knowledge of set and prop design. Rousseau and her mechanical performers move through the audience, inviting them to follow her on her path. The metal creatures she has constructed transform her simple, lyric narrative into a visual feast; embodying a young girl practising her take off, revealing her agitation at the thought of leaving home, and vividly bringing to life the memory of twiddling her thumbs with the boredom of waiting for change.

The sound and lighting design of this performance is a particular pleasure, completely submerging the audience in this magical world. The live music provided by Stéphane Diskus’s clarinet is haunting and evocative, heightening the wonder of Lift Off’s intricate design and giving a voice to the incredible creatures dotted about the room.

Rousseau’s performance explores the challenges we encounter in achieving our dreams, poignantly wondering at the ease with which birds and seed pods soar, and the weight of her own form which holds her down. Lift Off charts the birth of Rousseau’s desire for flight, her determination to pursue her dream and her reflections on how significant such dreams may be in shaping who we are. L’Insolite Mécanique’s Lift Off is a fascinating and original contribution to this year’s London International Mime Festival.

  • Physical Theatre
  • By L’Insolite Mécanique
  • Conceived, written, built and performed by Magali Rousseau
  • Barbican Centre, London
  • 23-27 January 2018

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Hannah Connell is an MA student of Russian and East European Literature at UCL. She is passionate about poetry, art and architecture. Her background in modern languages in fuelled by her interest in foreign literature and drama, an interest in culture and theatre that springs from her introduction to great English playwrights at school. On the side she pursues her interest in design through painting and pottery-making.

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