Review: FAMILIE FLÖZ FESTE, Peacock Theatre

Acclaimed masters of mask-performance, Familie Flöz return to the London International Mime Festival for the first time since 2016.

By: Feb. 03, 2023
Review: FAMILIE FLÖZ FESTE, Peacock Theatre
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Review: FAMILIE FLÖZ FESTE, Peacock Theatre Familie Flöz are back in London for the first time in over a decade, with their fifth visit the London International Mime Festival, and their mask storytelling keeps its noted style and substance.

In a co-production with Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Theater Duisberg, and Lessing Theater, this show nudges the absurd with the help of video artwork (by Maraike Brüning and Reinhard Hubert) and music (by Brüning and Benjamin Reber, with the song "Hold On" by Marlena Käthe).

As a prospective groom proposes to his girl; another woman, heavily pregnant, watches on. The two women become leading characters in the drama which follows, where relationships are based on gender, status, sexuality and, most pertinently, class.

With most of the following action taking place in the gated courtyard of the bride's posh house, we meet many characters and see their stories unfold. These are stories which touch on the best and worst of humanity, with small but significant moments around love, work, friendship and nature.

The three performers of Familie Flöz - Andres Angulo, Johannes Stubenvoll, Thomas van Quwerkerk - engage in quick changes and complex characterisations behind their masks: a bossy cleaner; a laconic caretaker; a man with a secret ready to burst out; an expert baker; a snobbish father.

With carefully crafted papier mâché masks and exaggerated, but not over the top, physical motion, each character is defined precisely, and it was a great surprise to realise by the end which performers had created which one.

As the set (by Felix Noize) piles high with rubbish and a video screen moves from blue sky and wonderful sunsets to something more sinister, hope arrives in the most unlikely of sources, with dancing and levity. Will it end well?

With moments of fun expertly staged alongside more serious and sentimental moments, Feste works well and the performers' skill at mime and movement means you don't miss dialogue at all.

Directed by Michael Vogel and Björn Leese, who also wrote the piece with the performers. The lighting by Hubert and sound design by Dirk Schröder adds a real sense of atmosphere to Feste.

A fairy tale for adults which is both amusing and poignant, with Familie Flöz's special blend of cutting glances (the masks by Hajo Schüler are superbly made) and political commentary.

Feste is at the Peacock Theatre until 4 February 2023.

Photo Credit: Feste