Tuesday, June 25

We Missed You – Voila Festival

‘We Missed You’ is two clowns’ interpretation and message of lockdown and a fitting homage to the general feeling that currently pervades. They want to tell us that they missed us and create a warm fuzzy feeling inside audiences.

It’s part of Voila Festival or Voila Europe that runs annually at the Cockpit Theatre in London’s Marylebone. But of course, the pandemic has brought it to our homes via the digital world.

The enigmatic clowns are Julia Masli and Viggo Venn from Estonia and Norway respectively and are not the circus ring bright wigged & make up of nightmares but a more refreshing (and less scary) Harlequino and Pierrot who have a huge variety of fun costumes and tell us they are more Commedia Dell Arte.

This draws on a European tradition where clowns travelled from market square entertaining people on the street. Reassuringly they have also like any self-respecting clown been to clown school.

They take the audience on a virtual flight over snow-capped mountains via a parachute jump straight into London.  The humour is consistent, gentle and joyful and entirely welcome as a pick me up tonic.

The vignettes are a series of previously recorded vignettes filmed outside in different parts of the capital. With the duo making clever use of the tools of the outdoors and a few props.

An offbeat daring chase of Julia dressed as a rather splendid tomato around Brixton Market or later as a tiger making lots of roar noises shows how they bring their form of entertainment to the public without a stage.

Unsuspecting members of the public get drawn in which often gives an experimental air to the performance as you wonder what events will spontaneously occur.  Definitely a build of tension.

A roller skate around the fountain of St Thomas Hospital is poignant as you hear a staff member baffled at why they have created an impromptu carousel – generally it’s received well. Although this is part of their charm.

What they do well is bring some simple happiness and joy in a totally zany way.   Making a pirate ship out of a traffic island is ingenious and hugely fun. It encourages a childlike sense of mischief.

The portal of dance is without a doubt comedy genius. Who wouldn’t want to join in and the beauty of it is you can make it happen anywhere?

Ingenious warm humour which we all need an injection of at the moment. No room for being uptight and keeping the spirit of the artiste alive.  https://www.voilafestival.co.uk/sales/missed-you

Reviewer: Rachel Foster

Reviewed: 15th November 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★