HOW A MAN CRUMBLED
by Clout Theatre
by Kiki Lovechild
The Vaults Leake Street SE1 7NN To 29 November 2014.
How A Man Crumbled 18-22 November.
Runs 1 hr No interval.
Runs 1hr No interval.
TICKETS: 0207 401 9603
Review: William Russell 20 November.
Silence is golden – sometimes.
There are some 52 acts in the Mimetic Festival so one can only dip a toe in the waters – I took two dips. The Vaults beneath Waterloo Station provide an amazing venue for this two week celebration of physical and visual theatre, puppetry and cabaret, now in its third year. This is its first time in the vast chambers below the station with suburban trains rumbling over head. One finds a world of whey faced clowns, tap dancing Chaplins, men in drag, some elegant, some grotesque, some possibly female. The audience is pretty strange too.
How A Man Crumbled by Clout Theatre has three performers, nameless, who recount a tale about Russian poet, Daniil Kharms, intent on telling a story about an old woman while aided, interfered with and abetted by an androgynous figure and a small female with a vertical pigtail. There is a screen onto which from time to time captions are projected, silent-movie style. It is sometimes funny, sometimes alarming and for much of the time utterly baffling. The performers are skilled; every now and then they erupt into what is probably Russian.
It is also quite violent – someone gets murdered, stuffed in a trunk and taken on a train journey, splendidly evoked. But sometimes words are really necessary. The physical is fine. But what it is all about remains obscure, albeit one can enjoy trying to fathom the goings-on.
The Weatherman, on the other hand, is a delight and poses no problems understanding what is happening. Kiki has died and been sent to purgatory, a rather pleasant place full of interesting boxes,suitcases and a machine which controls the weather. The result is hilarious as he explores the boxes – there is a lovely gag when plumbing the depths of one that promises much – the hand plunges through the bottom and ends up grabbing what might be the contents, much to Kiki’s surprise.
He also works wonders with a red silk dressing gown, some coat-hangers, the weather-making machine and a horde of paper airplanes which the audience end up trying to throw through a hoop. Mime can be wistful, sad, amusing and work wonderfully, but when it tries to get cerebral the lack of words becomes crucial.
Festival programme: www.mimeticfest.com.