Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Where the White Stops at the Mimetic Festival
Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Where the White Stops at the Mimetic Festival
Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Where the White Stops at the Mimetic Festival
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26 Nov REVIEW: Where the White Stops in Mimetic 2, Mimetic Festival

In another time and in another place, Where the White Stops could have been called The Crab and The Narwhal, a folk story passed from generation to generation and between tribes around the Arctic circle. Of course it isn’t; it’s a modern play from a new and incredibly exciting theatre company, ANTLER Theatre, who pride themselves on playfulness and inventive theatricality. In Where the White Stops, ANTLER somehow find a way to engage their audience at an animalistic level, helped by the visceral folkloric narrative that underpins the show, featuring mythical monsters and an eternal search for something more, whilst remaining gently funny and visually quirky.

An apparently endless expanse of frozen desert, The White is a formidable environment, ravaged by icy blizzards and tormented by a supernatural Beast. But what’s out there? And what happens, when you get to the edge of The White? They’re questions that compel Crab (Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart) to leave the comfortable embrace of her village, crossing physical and metaphorical borders in her search for answers, through fierce conditions, onwards, always onwards, with new questions perpetually emerging on the ever-changing horizon.

Firmly grounded in physical theatre, the show makes great use of visual hyperbole and snapshot lighting, most notably in dragging us along in her hike across the ice, and in inferring the passage of time and distance. Just as it’s visually powerful, Where the White Stops is beautiful to listen to; the use of voices – not quite singing – give an almost musical quality to the performance, taking us through a full range of emotions from anguish to excitement in a way that transcends language.

Despite intending to embark on a lone expedition, Crab’s journey is rarely a solo one, not least because her concerned younger brother follows her out of the house and across the border. We meet Narwhal (Zachary Hunt) in a charmingly subtle moment; he appears wearing a saucepan on his head, the handle protruding horn-like, resembling the unicorn of the sea that he’s named after. Hunt gives a strong performance as both Narwhal and the bizarre King Softface, along with the remaining three quarters of the cast who all prove themselves to be versatile and talented performers.

Where the White Stops has a particular style that’s incomparable to any other professional production; it’s visually beautiful, audibly beautiful, and exceptional in its storytelling. Think back to being a child, sitting on the carpet and listening to a story, rich with mythology and destruction and deceit. Do you remember the way you let your imagination run wild as you sat there, how you truly felt excited or scared, and clung to every word like your life depended on it? Where the White Stops invites you back onto that comfortable carpet, and recaptures those moments for an adult audience. It’s like some kind of a wonderfully whimsical story time for grown ups.

Where the White Stops was shown as part of the Mimetic Festival in The Vaults, Waterloo.

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Image: Richard Davenport

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
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