Monday, 5 February 2018

Jakop Ahlbom's Lebensraum at the Peacock Theatre

A chance encounter with the trailer video (they do work!) had brought me to get a ticket to see Lebensraum. Advertised as based on a Buster Keaton silent film (The Scarecrow, 1920) I thought we might be going to see contemporary dance, until we found ourselves surrounded by posters of the London International Mime Festival at the Peacock Theatre. I was delighted that a paying punter had actually turned up in a breton top.

In fact, the strong design, loose narrative and and trio of mime artists made for an encounter that was essentially physical theatre. The show benefits greatly from an integrated band, Alamo Race Track, playing large-toned electric American folk as if in character on stage. There's lots of fun without recourse to all-out slapstick; when this happens its ambitious and occasionally breathtaking (there's a particularly alarming-then-astonishing coup de theatre near the end). Everything is geared towards entertaining the audience and, by this reckoning, the event was entirely successful.

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