Infinita

Familie Flöz are back with another beautiful, gentle and poignant piece of physical theatre. It's a delightful way to spend 90 mins. From the gorgeous opening image of a masked woman playing cello alone on a bench, to the final scene where a quartet of cheeky old men tap, slap and backflip their way into the afterlife.

In a frenetic, word-obsessed world, it's nice to sit in relative silence for a while and watch these masters at work.

The shuffling shadows projected onto the stage wall that bookend Infinita are a poignant reminder of its central theme: the cyclical nature of life. In this Edinburgh Fringe premiere, the Berlin-based, world-renowned physical theatre company Familie Flöz have the perfect show to ease you into an afternoon of theatre-hopping.

On walking into The Grand @ The Pleasance you're immediately plunged into Familie Flöz's world. The stage is flanked by giant tombstones and a huge chair. You already feel like a child in an adults' world. Or a mourner shuffling through a quiet graveyard. Infinita flips between these two worlds. The tumbling world of four knee-high children, exploring their environment, their boundaries and each other; and the tottering world of four crunchy old men in a retirement home, stealing pills from the nurse, playing piano and spilling their bed pans.

Most of the scenes are an absolute delight to watch. The physicality of the four performers (Bjorn Leese, Benjamin Reber, Hajo Schuler, Michael Vogel) is masterful, and they absolutely nail most of the gentle set pieces: from a wrestling scene in a cot, to twiddling knobs on a radio.

That's the beauty of Infinita, and of mask work in general: the ability to do so much with so little. Their faces are alive, emotions change with a flick of the head and twist of the body. It's quiet too. Really quiet. Apart from the recorded music during the projected sections, and the live music from an on-stage piano and cello, the only sounds you hear are the performers moving around the stage.

In a frenetic, word-obsessed world, it's nice to sit in relative silence for a while and watch these masters at work.

The show lost its way around two-thirds through with a messy scene involving some kind of rectal pump and chaos in the retirement home. And, despite a beautiful moment of physical prowess in front of a graveside and an entertaining final scene, I was left with a feeling of incompleteness. But, perhaps that's what they wanted. The show is called Infinita after all.

Familie Flöz are relentless tourers, and Infinita is two years old now. There's a slight sense of weariness behind the physical beauty. A lack of edge and energy that their Teatro Delusio (at the Fringe in 2016) had in spades. But don't let that put you off. It's a gorgeous show that is well worth 90 mins of your time and £14.50 of your money. Also, if you find someone who has already been, you can grab a 10%-off voucher.

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The Blurb

After sell-out success of Hotel Paradiso and a five-star hit with Teatro Delusio, Germany's mask theatre masters return to the Fringe with their next brilliant, visual comedy. In Infinita, a cast of irresistible, larger than life characters are seen both as warring children and as residents of an old people's home. The wily games of nursery one-upmanship seem hardly to change with the passage of time. Survival of the craftiest is still the rule of the day. Infinita plays out in a succession of increasingly hilarious scenes, combining poignancy, astute observation and some superbly skilled slapstick.

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