Familie Floz are fast becoming an Edinburgh Fringe tradition. The Berlin based company have brought several shows to the festival in the last few years, including the hits Hotel Paradiso and Teatro Delusio. In 2018 they are back with the production Infinita. The company are masters of mask theatre, where all the performers wear face masks with elongated noses and exaggerated features. It’s an original and unique style that is part grotesque and part comedic. Infinita looks at life and death, with children and the elderly being depicted in the company’s distinctive style.
Towards the back of the stage is a large screen. As the audience waits for the show to be begin we see a series of shadowy figures being projected onto this screen. They walk slovenly and solemnly from left to right. The imagery evokes the video art installations of William Kentridge, with bold silhouettes parading across the stage, concealing the identity of the people. Eventually the stage lights dim and we are taken into a surreal world of playful and vindictive children and frustrated, but equally as playful old people.
Infinita feels more like a series of short comedy sketches as opposed to a longer narrative piece. This works well as a comedy, however the format makes it hard to get to know the characters. We go back and forth between scenes of children playing and the elderly struggling with life in a retirement home. The connection between the two situations does not feel strong – we get into the flow of one story and then we switch to another. Both sets of scenes are filled with slapstick comedy and physical theatre and keep the sold out audience at the Pleasance Grand entertained.
Familie Floz know how to put on a big show and entice an audience with bold and impressive visuals. Throughout Infinita the laughs come and go, but the episodic nature of the performance filters out some of the emotion, despite the touching and heart-warming ending.