Mimetic Festival

Today, Civilian Theatre takes a step back from its usual habit of telling its readers about shows that are halfway through a run and where tickets are harder to locate than snow leopards. Instead I will encourage people who like theatre to check out Finger in the Pie’s Mimetic Festival, which runs Tuesday 18 to Saturday 29 November 2014.

Civilian Theatre’s Five to Watch

  1. The Libertine Has Left The Building – Michael Twaits

(25 – 29 November @ 21:40) (Tickets)

It seems only fair to start with Mimetic Festival’s Bursary Award Winner (decided by public vote), Michael Twaits. Seven years ago he created Confessions of a Dancewhore and has subsequently headlined Soho Theatre. His new show takes on the myth that every cell in the body regenerates in seven years. But does that mean we become a new person or just a second rate version of the same thing? Even better – there’s a video:


  1. How a Man Crumbled – Clout Theatre

(18 – 22 November @ 19:00) (Tickets)

Describing the premise of a piece of absurdist physical theatre in words seems to rather miss the point. Still in their own words ‘…Expressionist silent film meets grotesque slapstick in a world where clocks have no hands and a cucumber can kill a man.’ You may recoil at the Noel Fielding-ness of such a statement. However the trailer below suggests dipping into a much richer tradition than The Mighty Boosh ever managed.


  1. The Greatest Liar In All The World – Familia de la Noche

(18 – 22 November @ 20:00) (Tickets)

I am basically sold on someone else’s quote on this – ‘what it would be like to stroll through the inside of Tim Burton’s and Terry Gilliam’s minds’. Hmm, yes please. The trailer isn’t half bad too.


  1. Marion Deprez Is Gorgeous

(25 – 29 November @ 20:20) (Tickets)

The show promises a huge fan of Tommy Cooper and trained clown who just happens to be trapped in the body of a gorgeous French women. What is not to love? Vive La France!


  1. The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – Kill The Beast

(25 – 29 November @ 19:50) (Tickets)

I find invoking such pomp and bombast in your trailer is often the musical equivalent of Godwin’s Law, and you have lost my interest before evening starting. So all credit to Kill the Beast that their stunning visual effects and their clear commitment to proving that Stephen Berkoff isn’t the only person allowed to slap white greasepaint all over themselves. The show looks promising too.


Other shows to look at for, and there are many, many more, include Antler’s Where the White Stops (which I had the pleasure of seeing at the BAC before its Edinburgh run in 2013), It’s A Kind of Magic and The Misdemeanours of Saccharine. You can check out the full programme on the Mimetic Festival website.




The Mimetic Festival celebrates the diverse, and occasionally hidden, ends of the theatrical spectrum. No staid Noel Cowards or Shakespeare in Elizabethan dress here. What you’ll get is two weeks of the very best emerging devised, physical and visual theatre, puppetry and cabaret.

Finger in the Pie should also be applauded for recognising that much of the best work takes place on the continent and the Festival is pushing itself to become a hub for emerging european theatre making in the UK.

Civilian Theatre applauds any group that look beyond the ‘precious stone set in the silver sea’ and seeing the wealth of talent for what it is – an opportunity, not a threat.


Tuesday 18th – Saturday 29th November 2014


The Vaults, Leake St, London SE1 7NN


Civilian Theatre is proud to be an Awards Partner Reviewer for the Mimetic Festival. We will be out and about catching as many shows as possible, alongside fellow Partners: Litro, London City Nights, The Public Reviews, Savage, The Theatre Tourist, Theatrefullstop and View From the Gods. If you see us, come say hello.

Exploring new worlds in Battersea

Where The White Stops – ANTLER @ Battersea Arts Centre, 23 July 2013

Sitting inside a stiflingly hot and airless bar-cum-theatre at the Battersea Arts Centre watching the emerging ANTLER theatre company dressed head-to-toe in arctic-ready furs it was hard to resist summoning up that most over-used of precious theatrical clichés; performers that suffer for their art. Despite unbuttoning my shirt to a level that would certainly raise eyebrows at the Royal Opera House I couldn’t help but think that on this occasion the audience had got it relatively easy.

Visiting an Edinburgh preview show is always a refreshing experience. So often going to the theatre carries the expectation of seeing a product in its finished form, and it is pleasant to be occasionally reminded of the process that goesWhere the White Stops into getting to that stage. This is particularly true of a show like Where the White Stops, which has the feel of a piece that has been born out of collaborative improvisation. ANTLER, founded last year, is a young company and they retain a freshness of ideas that is an invigorating contrast to the staid conservatism of much of the West End.

Their production of Where the White Stops balances a sense of surrealist whimsy with a faintly disorientating emotional depth that gives rise to the slightly strange feeling of being trapped inside Bjork’s superb video for Wanderlust. They employ a mixture of physical theatre and polyphonic singing to create a vividly original vision of a fantastical frozen world.

If at times the whimsy can veer uncomfortably close the more navel gazing elements of The Mighty Boosh then it is not long before ANTLER bring it back on course through a tightly written narrative arc that suggests that below the improvisational, physical surface is a keen sense of the importance of the traditional story.

The story is of the modern fairytale; a heroine going on a journey to discover the world, and within it, herself. The key to the freshness of these stories – understood by everyone from Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy to Hayao Miyazaki’s work at Studio Ghibli, and in particular Spirited Away – is in the development of a carefully designed world where flights of fancy can be accommodated within the dreamlike logic of the set-up.

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