'André and Dorine' - Kulunka Teatro

Purcell Room | London International Mime Festival

André and Dorine was simple to the point of childishness. It had a big heart and an engaging story told without words by three talented performers in big masks which expressed very well – and simply – the characters portrayed. There was a simple set of a bare living room, save for a typewriter and a cello, with doors leading to a bedroom, a hallway and a loo (Health and Safety wouldn’t have allowed that last) and a simple wordless story of a poor but happy couple and their son whose lives are disrupted, not to say destroyed, by the onset of dementia in the wife. The story was interspersed by flashbacks of the couple in their youth, and these merry scenes were undeniably and comically endearing.

The crafting of the show was fine: the masks were expertly made by Garbiňe Insausti, and the masks for the young people admirably echoed those of the seniors. The performances, by Garbiňe Insausti, Jose Dault and Eduardo Cárcamo, were near perfect in terms of mask work and physical characterisation. The music, when the silence was broken, was somewhat insistent with a simple repetitive theme, played on cello and accordion by an uncredited hand and composed by Yayo Cáceres (it was over-amplified and therefore struck a false note).

Moments in the play were touching and memorable, especially in evidence of the couple’s love for each other. When the doctor’s written report is handed by the son to his father he refuses to look at it and tears it up. At her first signs of dementia her husband is cruelly but understandably impatient and rough with her, hoping against hope to bring her to her senses. Only his character is not simple: there are subtleties there.

Simple and sentimental as it was, many of the audience were in tears at the end and the reception was tremendous, and literally vociferous. LIMF can justly claim it as another of their 2012 successes. It was a vintage season.

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"Moments in the play were touching and memorable, especially in evidence of the couple’s love for each other."

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