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Teatro Delusio review at the Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘thrilling’

Familie Floz's Teatro Delusio at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Familie Floz's Teatro Delusio at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Berlin-based Familie Floz creates pure theatrical magic by making inanimate masks come alive and develop personalities. The performers wear larger than lifesize cartoonish heads, carefully designed with blank expressions – body language is used to project emotions instead, and mannerisms are worked with such precision that the changing faces are implicitly understood.

Teatro Delusio is set backstage in a concert hall as the stage hands go about their work. They react to passing musicians, opera singers and ballerinas. Inevitably episodic (the performers double and quadruple roles), the action ranges from classic slapstick, as when an inept stagehand struggles with a ladder, through quiet beauty, as each of the workers in turn gets to imagine himself performing with one of the stars. There’s also an enjoyable nastiness as they take their revenge on the more arrogant onstage figures.

The busy stage is a constant parade of unique characters – a cleaning lady, orchestra members – each with a unique turn: some comedic, some dramatic. It is revelatory and thrilling in its sense of discovery and its wide appeal, free from the constraints of language, is bound to please audiences much further afield.

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Physical comedy of the highest order presents a thrilling cascade of wonderful characters