Infinita review at the Peacock Theatre, London – ‘poignant, potent, profound’
At the heart of Familie Floez’s mask show is a brutal truth: old age will turn us all back into children. It is a fact confronted with grim and beautiful honesty in a production that’s unafraid to laugh at the indignities of ageing.
Between scenes in a children’s home and a nursing home the wordless show joyfully and movingly reveals the inevitable symmetry of old age and childhood, as three friends who entered the world together prepare to leave it behind.
Details from the childhood scenes map onto the care home scenes in a constant and complex interplay: squishy, bum-waggling babies fighting over a toy and farting become leathery geriatrics fighting over pills and peeing themselves. As well as being very funny, these masked characters also have a real psychological depth.
Meanwhile, as each scene is set up, elegant silhouetted animations provide the narrative. And all of this is set to aching, beautiful music.
From perfectly executed slapstick – a particular glorious highlight sees three old men sitting on a bench trying to tune their radio – to sparsely lit gothic images, everything is precise.
As if that weren’t enough, Infinita makes a profound point about music: that music, infinitely and undiscriminating, speaks to the soul. It doesn’t care if you’re a baby or in the shattering throes of dementia. It is eternal.
In the animations long parades of people shuffle past in silhouette. Pensioners in wheelchairs; mourners at a funeral. All unwilling participants in that inexorable march. The show is a poignant and potent journey to the pearly gates that seems to say, before we get there, life’s quite a laugh, isn’t it?
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