Why mime? Well, if you are as in tune with motion in space as Kirsten Stephens then you mime because it’s how you communicate. Ms. Stephens has a gesture for every expression and when she really gets going she looks like she’s directing traffic at rush hour. For this piece, she gives us a peek into a secret world of wasted time where Angry Birds get their comeuppance and online love actually sticks (until you pull it off) and she does it all with an ease and focus that sucks you into her world as surely as an Angry Bird addict has to get to the next level.
Stephens may have been wasting time poking around these distracting applications and websites but it pays off for her because she used that time to develop a funny and unique take on them. The aforementioned Angry Birds bit is hilarious and I also really liked where the opening “human evolution” bit lands. At one point, she logs on to a State Fair Cam and ends up having to use a sledgehammer to Heimlich out a hunk of carnival food. My favorite segment was the last one where Stephen brings mime fully into the 21st century by incorporating her Ipad. That was cool.
iMime is surprisingly entertaining. What can I say, I wasn’t sure what to expect but Stephen is so animated and cheeky I just couldn’t stop smiling. She has a loose and laid-back style of mime. She’s not out there trying to make you see the “box”. She’s out there creating a sort of caricature of objects and places that fit into her satirical world. And she gets a lot of laughs for not saying a word…well mostly. I was surprised that she broke the silence at the end. There are times when the music drops out and all you hear is her breathing, the rustling of her clothes and the creak in the floor and I found that interesting but the segments with more music and sounds drew me in more. One thing Stephens does with absolute precision is stage fall. When she hits the floor you just want to go check on her to see if she really hurt herself.
Stephens pulls off a funny and absorbing performance without looking like she’s trying too hard. But the fact is the physical control and flow of motions and gestures she’s turning out takes extraordinary strength and endurance. And she does just about as much movement with her face as she does with feet. It’s really impressive. It’s great fringe theatre. Stephens tells us that this is her first time performing here in our fair city. Catch her show before she’s gone.