The eyes have it: London puts its mime face on

Performers with chalky complexions and staring eyes bring a veritable dose of normality to stages across the capital this week, as the London Mime Festival treats theatregoers to eclectic experiences that include singing badger skulls, a mountain goat and an ode to bearded ladies.

Four venues across London – the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), the Barbican Centre, the Royal Opera House and the Southbank Centre – will be hosting performances from international mime companies until 31 January. The festival, which was first held in the capital in 1977, aims to promote the work of visual theatre artists, and features performers from all over the world.

Especially tipped by critics are performances from the Russian company blackSKYwhite, which presents a vision of the disintegration of a vast empire in 'USSR Was Here'; and ventriloquist, contortionist and circus artist Jeanne Mordoj, who explores issues of identity, sex and death.