Dimanche means Sunday. It can represent either the beginning or end of the week, depending on your perspective, but regardless it’s a transition between two points in time. It’s a fitting name then for the collaboration between Belgium’s Focus Company and Chaliwaté Company, a marvel of mime, puppetry, and clowning that highlights the point of no return we find ourselves rapidly approaching with regard to the climate emergency. 

Blending its rumination on climate change with humour, the production presents nine scenes which shift between its three focuses (the power of three comes up a lot here). Three wildlife documentary filmmakers attempt to document three species on the brink of extinction while experiencing extreme weather caused by the climate crisis. Contrasting this set-up is a family of three that attempts to go about their Sunday normal despite the cataclysm happening around them – literally trying to drown it out with music at points. 

All of this is wonderfully realised by performers Sicaire Durieux, Julie Tenret, and Sandrine Heyraud who prove themselves to be masters of their craft. They utilise their bodies to transform the stage, becoming mountainous landscapes and sandy dunes to help establish location, adorning their costumes with trees and houses to further the illusion. 

The puppets too, created by WAW! Studios, are both visually impressive and expertly manipulated. Every movement is deliberate, conveying a wealth of meaning and emotion. Watching them recreate the intricate movements of sharks and polar bears, it’s easy to forget that you’re not watching the real thing. The underwater sequence is especially impressive and, when aided by Guillaume Toussaint Fromentin’s lighting and Brice Cannavo’s soundscape, is an incredible feat of theatre magic. 

Dimanche isn’t necessarily subtle in its message, but then neither is the climate emergency. While this subject matter can be bleak, Focus and Chaliwaté inject it with the right level of absurdist comedy to make it a more palatable pill to swallow. Even in the ridiculousness of  how far the family is willing to go to ignore the alarm bells ringing around them, the production never loses itself and the audience is always brought back to reality.

With its 70-minute runtime, Dimanche never overstays its welcome. It’s a magical piece of physical theatre by two understandably acclaimed companies that is suitably succinct and raises the bar for mime and puppetry.