Billy The Mime
Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88)
Star rating: * * *
Re-enacting the final moments of Whitney Houston, Anne Frank, Osama bin Laden and Michael Jackson, to name but a few, his mute performance is rendered all the more disturbing for its technical mastery. His first scene lays down a marker for his exceptional skills, an intricate romance contrived by using nothing bar his hands. Whether transforming himself into a wartime dive-bomber, Prince Charles calmly receiving the news of Diana’s demise or a priest abusing an altar boy, it’s rarely an easy watch.
Indeed, at times it becomes too much. The Aids-ridden demise of a promiscuous gay man is brutal, lacking any redeeming qualities save for the grim effectiveness of the performance. When Billy does leaven the horror, it’s a relief and a delight; the economy of movement with which he portrays Michelangelo’s David in a piece entitled “The History of Art” outstanding in its nuance, the grace with which he woos a woman to an up-tempo soundtrack, charming. More light would increase appreciation of his shade.
• Until 26 August. Today 6:15pm.