Fest Live is the event that launches the Physical Fest of international physical theatre, which although one of the city’s most niche annual events is always one of the most interesting. A perfect way to demonstrate this is by kicking things off with a taste of the different works that audiences and participants to Physical Fest workshops can find out about in the coming days.
First of all, Zambia’s Barefeet Acrobats – who have been performing at a number of public events since their arrival in Liverpool last week – demonstrated their energetic and hair-raising gymnastics. The first half of the show was then given over to two companies trained at the famous Jacques Lecoq school in Paris – Milk Teeth, who presented an unsettling yet imaginative short piece about a toddler and his baby brother playing games that get out of hand, and RemoteControl, an all-female company who explored womankind in a strikingly beautiful, strange and haunting short piece that brought to mind the imagery and surreality of the work of David Lynch.
Taking that even more literally was Antigone/ Twin Peaks, a 20 minute segment of a full length show devised by Yorgos Karamelegos (one of Physical Fest’s founders and half of Tmesis) and performed by a cast of 12, re-telling the Greek tragedy with the style and surreality of the Lynch’s 90s series.
The tension was broken by London-based trio Clowns (pictured above), with a sketch taking off the X Factor that evolved into an audience-terrorising Single Ladies, before the final act of the evening, Ellen Turner’s Car Door Moments, a one-woman performance examining the impulsive thoughts it is unwise, unsafe and generally unhealthy to act upon in everyday life. What starts with talk of kicking pigeons and opening car doors on the motorway becomes a maelstrom of self-abuse and reveling in the unselfconscious, full of silliness, surprises, spaghetti, and a manic joie de vivre that comes with doing what you’re not supposed to.
Given the intensity of some of the performances, the show was held together by comperes Mirage – aka performers Holly Wilson Guy and Aiden Lee Brooks, whose daft improv comedy style and easy rapport proved a successful gateway for some challenging and sometimes disturbing pieces. With so much on offer, Fest Live was a brilliant way for Physical Fest to set out its stall as well as showcase work that probably wouldn’t make it to the city any other way.