Review from: London International Mime Festival, Jacksons Lane, London; 10th January 2020
Audience members sit on three sides of an intimate, ¾ round stage and, after a joyously awkward welcoming, we witness 45 minutes of Jonathan Guichard’s exploration of his ingenious new circus apparatus. Described as a ‘giant archer’s longbow’ we watch as the wire walker demonstrates a thorough exploration of this equipment’s potential. While it may not be the first wire to be slung between two ends of a rocking arc, microphones underfoot and around the space capture noises from Guichard and the audience. Everything from slaps to squeaks are used in forming the sonic setting, which is expertly mixed by live sound engineer Mikaël Le Guillou to craft a unique and engaging sonic backdrop.
Throughout 3D, we delight in Guichard and Le Guillou’s dry demeanors and comical relationship. With its snappy transitions and sprinklings of audience participation spread throughout, the audience are kept actively attentive and 3D whizzes by. Throughout, the theatre was filled with plenty of smiling attendees and laughter. I even found myself feeling a twinge of envy for those seated on the front row; lucky enough for an ‘invitation’ to touch kit or perhaps smash a button triggering a sound.
In addition to Guichard’s dry but oddly charismatic presence, I found the show captivating as his movement and balances around the kit were quite ingenious. I’m left feeling rather naive as he demonstrated such a wide range of potentials with the ‘longbow’, many of which I hadn’t begun to picture beforehand. Semi-circular rolls reminiscent of German Wheel technique toy with their proximity to the audience, and the fluidity with which Guichard slides around his new apparatus is visually pleasing.
To me 3D reads, in part, as a complete exploration of the apparatus. Every aspect of it felt experimented with, from the movement and tricks around it to the varying tones and percussive noises you can make with it. The ambiguous ‘outside eye’ role is attributed to Etienne Manceau, and its a nice touch from the Mime Festival this year that all their programme sheets with company information on are freely available online.
3D has a lovely sense of cohesion – even the sound desk’s appearance emulates that of the new kit – and audience participation doesn’t feel forced or unnecessary. Instead, it was integral to the show’s form and linear progression. The way ‘happy accidents’ were embraced, and the sense of connectivity I felt towards the on-stage action, were really enjoyable. I would recommend this show for younger audiences (as well as adults), as I can imagine the participatory aspects and accessible humour delighting them as much as it delighted me.