Monday, 10 January 2005

Toys by Toys Theater, Jan 10, 2005

Toys  by Toys Theater   
produced by xeAxe International
Deaflympics Cultural Festival
 BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square  Jan 10 to 14, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Toys Theater,  Russian theatre for the Deaf, is part of the Deaflympics Cultural Festival.

Toys is a children's performance with four charming physical performers, all of whom are Deaf.

The show is a series of vignettes with actors playing a mechanical toy, each uncannily accurate in its mechanical movements.

The Toy-Dwarf (Alexander Filimonov OK) is a quirky, clown character who controls the other toys with his remote control and teases the audience.

Filimonov has a mischievous glint in the eye and a dexterity of movement as this cheeky character. Toy-Dwarf is dressed as a brass band leader wearing gold epaulets and a wind up mechanism implanted in his back.

Loudmila Romanovskaya (OK) is the pretty, girlish dancing Doll, the childlike love interest for the male toys.

The chubby Toy-Cook (Vassily Solonitsky OK) is a charmingly petulant chef who stamps his feet and plays like a child. His cheeky seduction scene with female audience members is very cute.

Toy-Boy (Ilya Goltsov OK) is a romantic spiv who believes in his own charms and uses them on the Doll. Goltsov is an adroit mime artist who prances, dances and romances as Toy-Boy.

There are many highlights in the seven scenes. Toy Dwarf manipulating the other toys movements with his remote control is a demonstration of their great mimetic prowess in mechanical movement.

The road trip sees Toy-Boy and Doll driving their mime car on a comically dangerous trip.

But it is the mini tennis match between Toy-Boy and Toy-Cook that takes the prize. Toy-Boy, using his boater hat as a raquet, plays a challenging tennis match against Toy-Cook who bats the ball back with his frying pan. Doll controls the huge ball on the end of a stick in classic clown style. It is hilarious.

Apart from the skill and humour of the actors, the experience of being a Hearing person in a predominantly Deaf audience was extraordinary. I have never seen signed applause - a room full of silent people with raised hands and wiggling fingers.

Toys is accessible to all ages, Deaf or Hearing. It is cheerful and a reminder of all those favourite game and stories from childhood.

LOOK FOR:  Other Deaflympics shows: Heads Up (Australia) Jan 12 and 15; Mosaic (USA) Rainman (Canada)  and Contraposition, (India) all Jan 10-15

By Kate Herbert

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