The London International Mime Festival is an event that often passes me by, due in no small part to the timing – in January I’m always a bit dazed and it takes me some time to get back into the swing of things after Christmas. However, this year I got my act together in time to check out the opening show of this year’s festival, Marcel, which was showing at the Shaw Theatre.

Created by Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the show stars Jos Houben and Marcello Magni, the latter the protagonist who is being “tested” for something – we never find out quite what, but the inference is that his age is proving a hindrance. In his attempts to carry out his tasks, chaos ensues as he struggles to negotiate the huge curved ramp and other props on the stage.

There are some impressive moments, but overall the mood is one of gentle comedy rather than groundbreaking humour. Not that this is a problem – I found the show very amusing, and if it lacked structure somewhat, it was a warmhearted examination of the effect of ageing on the body.


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