Review: Infinita (Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Festival)

Familie Flöz bring their show to Edinburgh for another Fringe

© Simona Fossi

After presenting last year's Teatro Delusio, a piece about a phantom at the opera, Familie Flöz returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with Infinita at their regular Pleasance Grand stomping ground.

If 2017's show had a lead character from the afterlife, then Infinita follows those in (or about to leave) the land of the living. We see warring infants and care home chaos, juxtaposing people in their early life and their old age – placing first and second childhoods next to one another. Compared to the metatheatrical mania of Teatro Delusio, Infinita is certainly more reserved and staid, a quiet meditation on living into your later years. Past and present jumble together, the end of life sharing the stage with the beginning.

It's a nice trick – aided by some (albeit lengthy) video projections from Silke Meyer and Andreas Dihm. The cast of four hop and change between characters, one actor is one moment a care worker, the next an incontinent pensioner.

The company are as refined as ever, with some superlative physicality complementing their consistently top-notch mask work and dialogue-free storytelling. A couple of skits – one involving a temperamental radio aerial alongside some perfectly timed choreography and the other with a giant blue inflatable ball are dazzlingly executed and result in some rip-roaring audience-fuelled fun.

But there's a strange tone to the show – despite spending a lot of time following crackpot old-timers, it is the periphery characters, appearing briefly, that are most intriguing. A tortured care worker – molested, prodded, taunted and detested by a variety of elderly home inhabitants, leaves the stage in a rush of despair midway through a scene. What could have been a harrowing vision of an underrepresented yet vital profession (especially in a country with an increasingly ageing population) feels too hasty and an oddly misplaced step.

Infinita's tranquillity sadly becomes tedious, and the blending of youth with age never feels as innovatively explored as it could be. Rather than making the mundanity of old age feel more magical, a lot of the time it just feels, well, more mundane. Stretched over 90 minutes the content may sometimes dazzle but frequently wears thin, with the hijinks sparsely spread.

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