Review: Familie Flöz’s Infinita at The Peacock Theatre, London
As masters of mask-performance, Familie Flöz treated an enthralled audience to a very clever mix of poignant narrative punctuated with animated silhouette vignettes. In their show Infinita, played to a packed house at the Peacock Theatre, Berlin based Familie Flöz return to the month-long London International Mime Festival on the past strength of equally accomplished and acclaimed masterpieces such as; Teatro Delusio (LIMF ’05) Ristorante Immortale (LIMF ’06) and Hotel Paradiso (LIMF ’09).
As the audience quickly acclimatises to the conventions of silent mask-performance, subtle nuances of thought and emotions are witnessed. The absence of voice seems to only add weight to the special dynamic being experienced; this precious vein (floz) of theatrical gold provoking strong engagement and response to the characters portrayed and their relationships, whilst somehow setting the audience’s imagination free.
Astute character observation of early and latter life-stages, the paralleling of love, loss and physical vulnerabilities gives poignant insights into what we are like as human beings, with comedy never far away. Such funny moments are too numerous to count and too memorable not to recount in remembering Infinita.
Toddlerhood, with its personality and size-driven hierarchy is replicated in the relationships of four elderlies, as care home inmates, who behave equally mischievously. Whilst hilariously entertaining throughout, some serious questions are simultaneously provoked about how elderly people are assigned to lives of isolation and anonymity. Yet these particular characters never lose their spark of youthful vigour and intent, even if constrained progressively by the deterioration of their physical bodies. Through cross-cutting past memories with the present, Infinita explores the marvels and disappointments of life’s beginnings and endings in a uniquely empathetic way. To the delight of the audience, the final release for the elderlies comes in a most surprising manner.
Familie Flöz strike a superbly crafted balance between pathos and humour, reaching the highs and lows of life’s emotional roller-coaster with cleverly conceived devices, like playing with perspectives, making familiar moments freshly alive.
Truly impressive consistency of rhythms, global movements and subtle gestures make the characters entirely believable. The performing skills necessary to achieve such body control whilst wearing a larger-than-life head (generally referred to as mask) are not to be underestimated. The complicité of this ensemble performance is mightily accomplished, especially in their playfulness. Integral to the show are live cello and piano which add to the atmosphere created and are a further testimony to the extraordinary versatility of the company’s performers.
With the unanimous applause of the audience calling the performers back five times at the end of the show, now without their masks, there was clear acknowledgement of such exceptional work which, in its own way, so obviously speaks volumes. An exceptional theatre company with a five-star show which must be seen to be believed.
Reviewed on: Saturday 30th January 2016, The Peacock Theatre, London as part of London International Mime Festival. Infinita will be touring in France throughout March 2016, in addition to another Familie Flöz show, Hotel Paradiso, which tours in February 2016 visiting Spain, Switzerland and Germany. For further tour dates, details and information on the company Familie Flöz see here.