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Barbican, The Pit  

Waltz of the Hommelettes is a truly imaginative blend of puppetry, shadow theatre, and mask. It is loosely based on The Elves by the Brothers Grimm but within it, you can find so many more references to well-known fairytales. The characters and the images are surreal, dark and sometimes unsettling. The tone is light and humorous, though, and the original soundtrack keeps the pace at a great level throughout.

The three performers – Josephine Biereye, Richard Penny, Patrick Sims – are an incredible ensemble who work collectively to create so many characters with their bodies, their voices, with puppets, sounds and gestures. It is a spectacle in itself seeing the performers transforming themselves into multiple roles and re-creating through puppets and masks iconic characters. When it comes to the curtain call and you only realise it is three of them creating all this, you are just astonished, in the least, by the skill and fine tuning of them all.

The piece is unique in its making and in its execution. There are many references to fairytales, use of religious imagery, and a set which you can observe for hours and discover so many hidden symbols within it. Clocks striking, elves appearing, giant eggs and birds spinning are a few of the surprises one gets to enjoy on stage. Filled with menace, we find ourselves exposed to characters and images that remind us of something of our childhood, and yet the interwoven fairytales have acquired a new-found dimension in an adult world. The classical becomes contemporary and vice versa in this production.

Les Antiaclastes is definitely a company worth following, and it is once again a great achievement of the London International Mime Festival to be bringing such special productions from Europe. A show and a festival not to be missed by the fans of groundbreaking productions.

  • Mime Theatre
  • Direction, Design and Puppetry: Patrick Sims
  • Puppetry: Josephine Biereye, Richard Penny
  • Sound: Karine Dumont
  • Castincludes: Josephine Biereye, Richard Penny, Patrick Sims
  • Barbican, The Pit  
  • UNTI 19th January 2019
  • 19:45 (one hr. no interval)

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Emily Louizou is a professional theatre director based in London. She trained on the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck College, University of London and at Drama Centre. Prior to this, she completed her BA English at UCL. Over the past eight years, she has been actively involved in theatre; directing, writing or acting. She is the artistic director and founder of Collide Theatre, a collective of emerging artists producing visually exciting new work and reimagining classics. Her last production - TROY - was a new contemporary opera funded by the Arts Council England and based on a modern Greek text that Emily translated and directed. See more of Emily’s work on her website:

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