Imagine falling in front of a crowd of people… all eyes on you as you stumble, topple, drop to the ground… murmurs turn into comments that may potentially turn into laughter… I’m sure we’ve all had an embarrassing tripping moment. We’re taught to walk and keep our balance from a very young age, however falling is apart of that process. Falling as we age is viewed upon as vulnerability, a lack of support or direction.
Performed as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival, Fall/Fell/Fallen experiments with the concept of falling. Located in the Southbank Centre‘s Purcell Room, the seemingly limited space encapsulates a labrynthine world of wooden blocks, otherworldly soundscapes and a suited and booted protagonist on a quest to find out what this world established has to offer. Jérôme Hoffman takes his place at his music station, his home for the duration of the production as he supplies a sci-fi-esque sound track of nuts and bolts trickling down metallic rods and clashing electronic symphonies. A musical scientist continually experimenting and creating different combinations of sounds, Hoffman adds a musical language to an otherwise silent and brooding production. Sébastien Le Guen marvels in the silence, examining the audience as he looks amongst us to potentially seek what lies beyond his staged world. Guen pushes the audiences expectations by randomly falling face down to the ground, supporting himself just before he hits the ground.
Perching his weight on the deceivingly nimble match stick looking wooden blocks, Guen balances effortlessly, showcasing feats of strength and concentration as he travels from one wooden stick to another. Guen transfers his attention to the three wooden panels placed centre stage, each one placed so it stands individually, however each time falling to the ground. Guen’s determination to have each panel stand engrosses the audience, each audience member anticipating for all panels to stay standing. Guen’s attempts to keep his world stable and supported becomes the undercurrent for the production, with soundscapes of the seaside interrupting an otherwise robotic existence. Guen breaks away from the mundanity of his routine by stripping off his work attire, transforming the minimalistic stage into a swimming pool of alternate possibilities. A tub of water takes over the stage as Guen nonchalantly splashes water all over the space, sliding from stage left to right as he breaks away from uniformity. Hoffman and Guen work imaginatively together to create a fun, genre defining, inventive piece of theatre. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Fall/ Fell/ Fallen was shown as part of the London International Mime Festival at the Purcell Room (Southbank Centre) from Saturday 10th-Sunday 11th January. For more information on this year’s Festival, visit here…
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