Marée Basse – Sacekripa: The Pit, Barbican Centre, London, 17 January 2017

Knife to meet you

No more wining. Sacekripa's Maree Basse could never be accused of being petit-Beaujolais.

No more wining. Sacekripa’s Maree Basse could never be accused of being petit-Beaujolais.

So what happens when you put two drunk variety artists in a cramped room with a couple of bottles of wine and several very sharp knives? Well, not quite the anarchic pandemonium you might expect. Sacekripa’s Marée Basse was far more subtle than that, almost too subtle.

The premise is very simple. Benjamin De Matteïs and Mickaël Le Guen are at home preparing their dinner before settling down to watch their favourite kids TV show. How they accomplish this is anybody’s guess; in their way lie all sorts of unexpected hazards involving things like too-tight waistcoats, irascible corks and flying knives.

At times it’s quite brutal. The characters’ drunkenness is used an excuse for some mock fights that involve gruelling looking tumbling and terrifying knife -throwing. However, for the most part, a cheerfully stroppy churlishness prevails as they indulge in games of one-upmanship over each other.

There’s a wide range of skills on show. The juggling, balancing and sleight of hand are deftly performed – I’m still not entirely sure how the Dairylea triangle gets onto its cracker. De Matteïs and Le Guen also have engaging personalities that bring the audience right into their world and keep us there, forever guessing what might happen next.

And that’s the weird thing. It was a completely compelling show and brilliantly performed but, in all honestly, not something I’d be that interested in seeing again. A big part of its appeal lies in what might happen but a lot of promising ideas are left hanging and in the end you wind up ten pence short of a packet of chips. Still, I’m glad I saw it.

Sacekripa’s Marée Basse runs at The Pit in London’s Barbican Centre as part of the London International Mime Festival until 21 January 2017. Tickets and more info can be found on the Barbican website.

Gerard Davis

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