In an era where anthropogenic climate change is not only an abstract global concern, but also becoming a lived reality for countless people, the joint production of Belgian puppetry companies Focus and Chaliwaté brings an innovative theatrical treat to the stage with Dimanche. Melding puppetry, clowning and physical theatre, this production is a visual and thematic spectacle that explores both the West’s reactions to, and the consequences of, the environmental devastation which threatens our way of life.

A visual and thematic spectacle

The 75-minute show's core narrative takes the audience on a visually entrancing and emotionally charged journey through the apocalypse. A dwindling trio of journalists serve as our principal guides, taking us on a whistle-stop tour of global climate disasters, accompanied by an upbeat Paul Simon soundtrack.

It starts with a bright sequence depicting the journalists navigating an arctic landscape ravaged by climate change, and from there the production never ceases to amaze. The smart transitions between wide-view and close-up perspectives set the stage for an innovative performance filled with sequences that range from the poignant to the disturbing. The scenes featuring animals brutally affected by climate change and a family's increasingly insane attempts to ignore their crumbling world are vivid and thought-provoking. The message is unsubtle, but brilliantly delivered.

Both the craftsmanship in the puppets, and their manipulation, are highlights, speaking volumes about the talent involved. From the gasp-inducing polar bear and cub scene which adds an emotional gut-punch early on, to a shark menacing a ruined and fully submerged house in a visually wonderful section of the show, the quality of the puppets and their orchestration is first rate. They become more than simple props; they become characters in their own right, offering a depth and realism that resonate with the audience.

The show isn't without minor flaws. A couple of sequences do run long and trimming them might result in a more taut and impactful hour of performance. But these are minor issues in a production that otherwise dazzles with its creativity, emotion, and message. Dimanche is not just a show but a call to consciousness. It takes the devastating reality of climate change and presents it with flair, ingenuity and undeniable panache. It's a show that informs, entertains and inspires. A must-watch for those looking to experience theatre that transcends mere entertainment and compels us to reflect on our world and our place within it.

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Reviews by Alec Martin

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Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
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The Blurb

Two award-winning Belgian mime and puppetry companies come together for this stunning visual performance combining puppetry, video, mime and clowning.

Sometime in the near future, it is the end of the world as we know it. In their small city home, a family is about to spend their Sunday together, but the walls are shaking, strong winds and torrential rain rage outside and the storm has only just begun. Amidst this climatic chaos, the protagonists absurdly attempt to maintain a normal family life.

Meanwhile, somewhere else on the planet, three travelling wildlife reporters are doing their best to document the apocalypse. They film, with what little equipment they have, three wild animals on the brink of extinction.

Between dreamlike fiction and stark reality, Dimanche paints a witty and tender portrait of humanity surprised by the uncontrollable forces of nature.

A touch tour for blind or partially sighted audience members is available before the 7pm performance on 18 August. Find out more.

Focus Company / Chaliwaté Company

Written, Directed & Performed by Julie Tenret, Sicaire Durieux and Sandrine Heyraud

Alana Osbourne Dramaturg
Guillaume Toussaint Fromentin
Lighting Designer
Brice Cannavo
Sound Designer
Zoé Tenret
Waw! Studios / Joachim Jannin & Jean-Raymond Brassinne

Creators' Note

Dimanche means ‘Sunday’ in French: not only is it the day when the story unfolds in the show, it’s symbolically the day dedicated to rest and family activities.

Two companies joined forces to create this show, Focus and Chaliwaté. We have been following and appreciating each other’s work for a long time. It became clear that we had a similar approach to our art and it was obvious that we shared a common taste for unusual theatrical forms. It is as if we speak the same visual, artistic and poetic language. Although we use different tools – body and gestures for Chaliwaté, miniature objects and puppetry for Focus – we found a commonality, and a great artistic and human affinity.

We are inspired by anything that is around us: especially the day-to-day routine and the current news. We work meticulously, concentrating on the smallest details to create a singular visual and poetic language that grows from daily life – the personal and intimate experience – and aims to touch the universal.

We observed in ourselves and in others, on one hand an extreme urgency to act on climate change and to take political decisions and on the other hand, an inability to integrate this urgency and need for change into our daily lives. We look like a community of people who are totally out of sync with the current time – we try to maintain our daily lives to the point of absurdity.

While we believe there is hope, it's not necessarily at the end of the show. It is elsewhere: in humanity, in mutual aid, in the love that people have for each other. We are quite pessimistic that global policy is doing nothing to counteract global warming, but we still believe that humans can turn things around.

– Julie Tenret, Sicaire Durieux and Sandrine Heyraud

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