Forget Me Not @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre) Review

Performed by the innovative theatre company Compagnie Phillipe Genty, as part of the 2014 London International Mime Festival, Forget Me Not guides the audience through a labyrinth of song, puppetry and striking imagery…

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The piece began with a member of the cast singing a classical number, whilst wearing a Monkey mask and a purple dress. In the background, shadow puppetry was used to create the illusion of a group of travellers in the distance making their way to the foreground. This created an air of intrigue, and set the tone for the entire piece. This served as a framing device, as it was used to begin and conclude the production. The travellers were then brought to life by the ensemble of eight dynamic dancers, the cast dressed in 18th century garments as the men wore suits and hats, and the women wore white lace dresses. You could forgive me for thinking that the production consisted of many more performers than there actually were, as the stage was continually filled with an array of characters due to the use of life sized puppets. Inspired by the Japanese performance form of Bunraku theatre, the life sized puppets, ingeniously designed by a team of puppet makers, were made to appear as if they were living and breathing human beings, cleverly designed to look like the actual cast members themselves. As the ensemble weaved their way through the surreal production, it was difficult at points to differentiate between the puppets, and the actual cast members themselves, creating a magical air, which was very impressive. Full of visually stunning moments, Forget Me Not did not fail to amaze from a swirling black cloth creating picturesque shapes appearing to look like a cloud and a shell, that made the ensemble appear and disappear, to a cast member wearing wings, creating beautiful water sleeve inspired shapes in the space. The production also switched from the beautiful, to the comical, as moments of slapstick bought an air of fun to the production.

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An otherworldly piece of theatre, created by visual arts pioneer Philippe Genty, combined with Mary Underwood‘s playful and vivid choreography, Forget Me Not transported the audience through a dream like dimension as the black box staging transformed, morphed and melted into various landscapes. 4/5

Forget Me Not is currently showing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre) until 19th January, for more information on the production, click here…

To find out more about the 2014 London International Mime Festival, click here…

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