"Artistic explosion of physical theatre"
by Eleni Young for remotegoat on 05/08/14

The story of Lampedusa is a horrific yet quiet one. With thousands upon thousands of immigrants braving the seas in the hope of making a new life for themselves in Europe, the island of Lampedusa is not just an island. It’s a beacon of hope, of opportunity and of life. But for many, it’s a treacherous journey that ends in the depths of the ocean.

Miraculi, an hour long devised theatre piece by Theatre Senza, is more than a devised piece, it’s a piece that encapsulates the lives of the immigrants on their journey and those of the islanders. With a cast of 5, you meet hundreds of people, immigrants from Libya, elderly islanders, tourist shopkeepers and even dogs. Miraculi is a bombardment on the senses. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen a production so physical in several years, and this piece is bursting at the seams with it.

Initially the sudden influx of characters and dialogue is confusing. Life stories are not just told, you’re thrown into it. A clever juxtaposition of the lives of the islanders getting by each day at a time, to families torn apart, missing loved ones and assumed identities, the stories are endless. By the end of the performance, you’re left anticipating the next story, and the next, and the next…

With the sheer amount of activity on stage, it can be a little overwhelming, particularly if you’re not used to physical theatre, however if you don’t keep an open mind and immerse yourself into it, you’ll miss out on a real treat. At times I did wonder if it would have been better for the performers to focus on only a few stories/characters for the entire performance, however, it’s the chaos bordering on anarchy, which fuels this performance. The energy held by the cast throughout was astonishing, I felt exhausted just watching them!
Each character is made distinctive in every way possible, to describe it would be to rob you of seeing this master class of characterisation. The story is not all doom and gloom though the comic relief works well and makes the entire piece more human and each character more real.

Miraculi is funny, heart wrenching and hugely educational. It would be impossible for anyone not to leave this production with a different view of immigration and life as it is today. This is a wonderful and alternative piece for the Camden Fringe especially for those who are looking for something more thought provoking and a little bit different.

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