The Greatest Liar In All The World – Mimetic Festival

The Greatest Liar In All The WorldFamilia De La Noche

Showing as part of Mimetic Festival 2014 (17 – 29 November 2014)

At times during Familia De La Noche’s re-imagining of Pinocchio you wonder if there can be any tricks left un-deployed by this multi-talented motley crew. Well as it turns out they leave one ace up their sleeve and in the final moments what had hitherto been a highly raucous and entertaining series of set-pieces reveals itself to be something that has every right to consider itself Heads in a rowto be theatre. It is an unexpected moment of stillness that is ridden with pathos which breaks through the frenzy and displays the potent emotional heart that had beaten below its glossy surface all along.

The Greatest Liar In All The World manages to cram in acting, clowning, physical theatre, mime, musicianship, puppetry – shadow and actual, into sixty minutes. Amongst all of this they tell two stories; of the last show by the world’s greatest liar and, as a story-within-a-story, his own origins tale (that is perhaps best known by his more familiar name – Pinocchio).

Dott and the MoonIt is a heady mix and one can sense the impetuousness of youth in their desire to cram all their undoubted skills into a single production. There is a resulting unevenness in tone and quality, with some parts inevitably working more strongly than others. The first half is the stronger of the two and as Pinocchio loses sight of his objectives when on Booby Island so, unfortunately, does the production. However the frenetic pace means this is soon followed by a wonderful display of shadow puppetry, that tells of our hero’s journey across the world in search of his love and saviour; the blue-haired girl.

It is a mark of the production that it often works best when making use of the specialist skills of its cast and its weaknesses are in tying it together with more traditional theatre ideas. This is further evidenced by the excellent puppetry on display. In Pinocchio they have built a simple but powerfully effective wooden boy. His face, whilst static, is able to convey a huge range of emotions and that is credit to both his operators and to the cast that perform with him.

It is not easy to act against a block of wood but when we see the puppet’s interact with the blue-haired mime we can believe, if only for a moment, in the power of theatre to transform the unreal into the real before our eyes; for a wooden boy with a spoon for a leg to be something that can truly exist.

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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.