Basil Twist, The Araneidae Show and other pieces

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

Basil Twist’s dextrous talents were previously experienced in Symphonie Fantastique, presented at the Mime Festival 2001. Twist’s creation tested the boundaries of performance space and technique via the manipulation of objects through water. His new solo work, three stand-alone pieces, is as adventurous.

Angel’s Tarantella is a melodic and humorous introduction, in which an angel plays violin in deep concentration. Passionately bowing, her intensity lifts her to another level as the music takes hold

Stickman is an exploration of the puppeteer’s technique. A stick figure, simplistic in form yet sophisticated in motion, has life breathed into it through Twist’s adept control of the strings. An intimate relationship is exposed through miniature, concentrated movements like a hand twitch or a slight head turn. This careful performance was interspersed with lighter moments of excited jigging, indicating Twist’s confidence in the form.

Filled with surprising images, The Araneidae Show takes its name from the spider family, influencing the artist’s ‘fragile web of illusion’. Surreal observations, rather than narrative, make up this vision of dolled-up divas, and a filmic tour down dingy passages leads us to scenes of back-street sex and lonely despair. Mangy cats fighting over the motif spider, become embroiled in a cartoon-spin, only to shed their skins – from which emerge the camp divas with which the piece began.

Regarding his puppets as performers in their own right, Basil Twist’s impressive creations contain elaborate design and detailed figures, providing accessibility to his abstract presentations. Logistically complicated, this is a powerful and emotive collection of work.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 25