Heads Up: Murmurs

The Chaplin family circus comes to town

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The Independent Culture

What are we talking about?

A new family friendly show, Murmurs mixes illusions, theatre, music, dance and circus skills, taking the audience on "a journey of the imagination, where buildings dissolve and the boundaries of illusion and reality merge".

Elevator pitch

Keeping it in the family: roll up, roll up for the Chaplin circus.

Prime movers

It is created by Victoria Thiérrée Chaplin – yep, that's Charlie Chaplin's daughter (playwright Eugene O'Neill was her grandfather, too). With husband Jean-Baptiste Thierrée, Chaplin has long run Le Cirque Invisible, as well as directing Murmurs' predecessor, Aurélia's Oratorio.

The stars

It's performed by Victoria Thiérrée Chaplin's daughter, Aurélia Thiérrée. Suffice it to say that a certain talent for evocative, comedic physical performance runs in the family.

The early buzz

Time Out describes the show as following "a woman on the run, pursued through abandoned buildings and roads that lead nowhere, encountering whirlwind romance, dining-room debacles and aquatic adventures on her way". The mother-daughter duo's previous show was well received; The New York Times called it a "consistently entertaining, sometimes transcendent one-act show" adding that, given Aurélia's heritage, "if she has an effortlessly commanding stage presence, a wisely absurdist worldview and flawless comic timing, it should be no surprise". Aurélia's Oratorio was popular with British critics too; The Independent's Alice Jones said "Aurélia's huge range of skills as an actress, illusionist and dancer makes her irresistible to watch."

Insider knowledge

Aurélia has plenty of experience in the neo-circus ring; she has been appearing in her parents' shows since she was four, first appearing as a walking suitcase.

It's great that...

Although darker than their previous show, Murmurs is suitable for kids over eight, making for a non-cheesy family festive outing that may impress reluctant teens as much as it entrances smaller children.

It's a shame that...

The ubiquity of Cirque du Soleil and the like may mean that style-and-trickery over story-and-character isn't so popular in some quarters.

Hit potential

Sounds rather magical, and if it's anything like their previous show, is likely to be hit. That said, there are plenty of other Christmas shows in the capital this year.

The details

Murmurs is at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London SE1 (southbankcentre.co.uk), 20 Dec to 2 Jan.