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Review: Leo "charming"

Mar 20, 2013 Theatre




Circle of Eleven, Germany

Maidment Theatre

March 19, 2013

Reviewed by Frances Morton

Every so often something happens in live theatre that flips your expectations and allows a crack of magic into real life. Leo does this with stylish simplicity. It takes place on two levels simultaneously: Leo (actor Tobias Wegner) lies casually on the floor of a bare three-walled room. His only props are the classic mime tools, a suitcase and a fedora. Across the stage we see his image repeated on a large screen, except the image is tilted 90 degrees so that – hey presto – lonely Leo is now sitting against a wall.

Using sheer strength and this clever concept, Wegner teases gravity for the next 60 minutes. It doesn’t matter a jot that the trick is spelt out to the audience. The effect is charming and captivating. Leo is trapped inside this bizarre space and we’re trapped there with him. He spins on walls, dances on the ceiling, walks on his hands and levitates. It’s a highly honed performance and Wegner makes it all look so effortless that it’s easy to forget the physical challenges of the show.

Just when the act is feeling a little one-trick pony, variations are introduced. Finding a piece of chalk, Leo is able to embellish his sparse world. Later, moving projections dunk him into a watery interlude. The best comes at the end when Wegner makes full use of the set, throwing himself to the edge. At this point it would have been fascinating, and technically astounding, to see another player enter Leo’s topsy-turvy world.

With barely any language (just one word uttered) and plenty of mindbending action this is a festival show suitable for children. It’s short enough to accommodate young restless legs, and with the one ingenious concept drilled to its last drop you wouldn’t want it any longer.

On until March 23


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