Infinita (4 stars)

Infinita

credit: Valeria Tomasulo

Mask, music and movement transport you to an other-worldly place

The silhouetted figures of a funeral procession are projected onto the back wall of the theatre as the audience take their seats. Youth and old age, friendship and loneliness, bookend this poignant and magical piece from acclaimed German mask company Familie Flöz.

A grown daughter enters, pushing her father in a wheelchair. He places a flower at his wife's grave, then both tilt their faces into the light. Hajo Schuler's masks are exquisitely expressive: she appears sad, he stoical, both are lost in memories. Quickly, the scene changes and a toddler is centre stage, struggling to take its first steps. The illusion of scale is cleverly created with an over-sized play pen, and the physicality of a tottering, wobbling infant is conveyed with uncanny accuracy.

Scenes of nursery wars are interspersed with scenes in a care home. The stoical father is reluctantly checked in by his daughter, only persuaded to stay by the presence of a piano on which he plays haunting melodies. The care home is larger than life, with residents at the mercy of a harassed, key-jangling nurse.

A swarthy lothario in a brown dressing gown jabs his walking stick about, forcing our pianist to play ragtime in order to dance with the nurse, while a timid fellow in white pyjamas is eager for medication time. Wry comedy ensues after he takes his pills – he becomes a new man, gliding across the stage, all jittery struts and finger clicks.

The company of four are masters of economical gestures and comic timing, and their bodies so expressive you can feel every sigh. A variety of scenes of varying pace bring much laughter, spontaneous applause and gasps of delight. Old age can be cruel, and children can be mean, but Infinita reveals the joyful magic present in both. Enchanting.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 13), 1.30pm, £12–£13.50 (£11–£12.50).

Infinita

  • 4 stars

German mask theatre masters.

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