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Murmurs at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre

Alice Dickerson

An alternative to the festive but familiar pantomimes and ballets, which all ages will appreciate as the perfect post-Christmas treat.

The Thierée/Thierée Chaplin family specialise in producing beautiful, and largely silent, physical theatre. Murmurs stars Aurélia Thierrée as a woman chased through a series of surreal, disjointed scenes by anonymous and masked pursuers.

Their appearances are creepy enough to unnerve young audience members but are interspersed with appearances from a number of love interests who lighten the mood with their endearing attempts at romance.

However, Thierrée is unwilling to be pinned down by anyone and continually manages to escape the clutches of all of her pursuers by slipping in and out of the scenery as if a figure in a children's book, disappearing between its pages.

The production is billed as a mixture of theatre, illusion and dance but it is the visual tricks that shine through most.

You cannot afford to take your eyes off the stage for a moment; to do so risks missing another humorous but momentary visual illusion, most memorably when Thierrée dances on air.

As an audience, we are largely unused to such silent productions. The genre may be about to enjoy resurgence in popularity, given the buzz surrounding the recent release of the film The Artist. Should this resurgence take place, it will hopefully widen appreciation of the Thierée/Thierée Chaplin family's form of theatre.

Yet, the one drawback of Murmurs (not a criticism of the production itself) is that it was at times marred by coughing and shuffling from the audience, sounds which were amplified by the silence of the production.

Murmurs has been lovingly crafted and its brilliant blend of humour, intrigue and beauty make it a perfect treat for this festive period.

www.southbankcentre.co.uk/murmurs

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