the egg, Bath Theatre Royal, and touring
There's plenty of great theatre for children that will make the grown-ups chuckle heartily. There are some fine companies whose family shows will put a grin on a grumpy old face. But Mimirichi, three clowns from the Ukraine, go much further. Within a half hour, every grown up in the house is guaranteed to have lost themselves to the effortless genius of these three, liberated by taking part in the biggest paper fight of their lives, and all the while laughing till they hurt.
This is Paper World, and by the interval, the stage is buried under acres of white paper which has in turn become a baby, a giant football, goal posts, and an autocrat and finally a monster, devouring more and more waste paper, before turning on the jackets, jumpers and handbags of the audience.
Oleksandr Perehuda, Igor Ivashchenko and Mykola Odrekhivskyy have a mesmerising energy, and succeed in saying so much with just one look. This, along with the uncomplicated imagery used so well throughout the show, manages to cut through the generations. In the second row a seven year old boy and his grandfather sat laughing so hard the sound stuck in their throats, their tear-strewn faces turning the exact same shade of purple.
Pitch-perfect slapstick is combined with awe-inspiring physicality, reminiscent of the great Marcel Marceau whom the Mimirichi website proclaims as their great hero.
But what draws the audience in is not just the quality and consistency of the performances but the way in which the audience are encouraged to become part of the act from the very start. There is none of the fear or the reticence so often witnessed in painfully enforced audience participation. Mimirichi draw the audience together until we are all persuaded to let down our guard.
In the midst of lapfuls of paper and bellyfuls of laughter, something really rather magical happens.
"Paper World" ends its tour in Salisbury
Jackie Fletcher reviewed this show at the Riverside Studios in 2005
Reviewer: Allison Vale