Sans Mots

Thu 4th – Mon 29th August 2011


Iante Gaia Roach

at 22:20 on 20th Aug 2011



'Sans Mots' begins as an engaging solo performance to then lose focus by the start of the first story and to end rather disappointingly. It is a shame, because the play presents a number of interesting and amusing ideas, which would certainly benefit from a tighter timing and a clearer plot or at least development. Some moments are extremely funny. Others are simply dull. Italian actor, author and director Matteo Cionini is a charismatic performer, able to quickly captivate an audience. He is fond of making all audience members participate in the show by clapping and singing. The audience seems to really enjoy this part of the show. The way Cionini deals with latecomers is also extremely amusing.

His enthusiasm and conviction are genuine and moving. However, his technical abilities as a mime either need some refining or (intentionally?) are not used to their full potential on this occasion. Closer attention to the details of the actor's movement could further improve the play. Among the ideas which I found most interesting was that of transforming the stage into an aereoplane. Cionini acted as a steward, accompanied by a registered voice-over in an incomprehensible language (to me at least). This registered voice then kept conversing with Cionini at regular intervals, often reminding him that he must not speak. This conversation was often entertaining, but also monotonous, and seemed to try to make up for deficiencies in the plot. The idea of a mime being barred from speech is not terribly original; it could however been used to elicit greater comic effects had the play been structured in a clearer way. The presentation of the various stories could also be improved. Lines such as 'This is the first story- no I am not allowed to speak so will now mime', repeated at the start of each one of the three stories, grow rather dull. The story of the orchestra director presents some very good ideas with high comical potential, but again the timing is way too loose and the audience grows bored rather soon. The set is minimalistic. Few props are used; I am not convinced they were at all necessary.

Presumably, it is harder for foreign performers to be familiar with the dramatic standards of the Edinburgh Fringe. The implied audience for this play seems to be one which is hardly acquainted with mime and professional theatre. If my guess is right, I regret to write such a harsh review for a show which could have been very good even for more specialized audiences had the timing and the plot line been more focused.



espataro francisco; 24th Aug 2011; 23:20:27

i was a spectator. I was engaged, amused, moved. I had a lot of fun, as the review says... So, i really don't understand way it has only one star!!!

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