Teatro Delusio at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) by Familie Floz was pretty near at the top of my list for this year after their wonderful “Hotel Paradiso” show at last year’s Fringe. Everything you would expect from this company is still there...those wonderful masks that are close enough to familiar faces, but just slightly off enough to not be right and the amazing attention to physical body movements that only a first class mime artist can bring to the stage. It is amazing just how quickly you become visually adjusted to the masks and accept them as normal.
This show is set back-stage at a theatre, and that theatre within a theatre setting works well up until a point. It is, however, the people we meet backstage that this story is about as stage hands mingle with performers and secret loves and aspirations come to the surface...and of course a theatre ghost in the form of a beautifully animated life sized puppet.
There is, however, something missing here for me from the Hotel Paradiso show. Although this story again has wonderful sight gags reminiscent of the old Mack Sennett and Charlie Chaplin silent movies that are timed to perfection, there is something missing for me about the characterisation of the characters themselves that lack that heart warming pathos of last year’s show. It is a bit unfair to compare two completely different shows against one another, but last year’s characterisations were so well written that you came to care about them and emphasise with them quickly. That never happened for me this time.
As an audience, we are left to imagine what is happening on stage in “Teatro Delusio” behind a stage wall, and also imagine a bit too much of what the characters are doing behind that wall at times.
Amazingly there are only three performers in this show bringing to life a cast of many, and the different characters portrayed mostly by body movement only is still amazing to watch.
Review by Tom King