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Thick & Tight: SHORT & SWEET

A woman's face printed multiple times at different angles on a black background. Her skin is pale and her makeup around her eyes is dark and moody.

Welcome to the Barbican for this year’s London International Mime Festival, which is always eagerly anticipated as we re-emerge into each new year. Once again we look forward to joining forces with Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, the festival’s directors, to bring four exciting and very different productions to the Theatre and The Pit, as well as a programme of slapstick shorts in our cinema. We’re thrilled to once again be presenting international work on our stages: in the Theatre, Compagnie 111 returns with aSH by French theatre director Aurélien Bory performed by Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa. This is followed by Interiors from Scottish theatre company Vanishing Point. In The Pit, UK-based company Thick & Tight make their Barbican debut with Short & Sweet, a thoroughly modern variety show performed by a fantastic line-up of artists, which is followed by Stellaire, a love story beguilingly told through handmade cartoon-theatre by French company Stereoptik.

Whether you’re here to see one, some or all of this year’s London International Mime Festival Shows, we hope you have a fantastic time.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance, Barbican

We’re thrilled to welcome Thick & Tight back to the Mime Festival and to its debut at The Pit, with a world premiere of irresistible new pieces designed to excite, provoke and satisfy.

Created by Eleanor Perry and Daniel Hay-Gordon and with a terrific line-up of artists, this thoroughly modern variety show mixes dance, drag, lip-syncing, satire and Japanese Noh theatre. Sid Vicious, Twiggy and Rasputin all feature, together with other glittering icons including eight Edith Sitwells and everyone’s favourite avant-garde duo, John Cage and Elaine Paige.

After last year’s pause the Mime Festival is back large and live! We’re delighted, as ever, to partner with the Barbican in presenting exceptional artists in London.

Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, London International Mime Festival Directors

About the show

Short & Sweet is a thoroughly modern variety show created by Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry; an amuse-bouche platter of 9 new works designed to excite, delight and satisfy.

An array of famous and infamous characters will appear before you: Sid Vicious, Twiggy, Grace Jones, Rasputin and everyone’s favourite avant-garde duo, John Cage and Elaine Paige. Corali Dance Company and the Camberwell Incredibles join us to mark Thick & Tight’s 10th anniversary with a throwback to our first work in 2012 about the poet Edith Sitwell. A pair of moths and a couple of other small pleasures complete the evening.

Short & Sweet follows 10 years spent cultivating a mixture of drag, drama, queer culture, lip-syncing, design, satire and a multitude of dance disciplines. During that time, through our research and collaborations, our desire to celebrate and showcase people in all their differences and promote creative solidarity has become central to our work.

Two Moths in Real Time
(15 minutes)

Thick & Tight were invited to respond to Japanese Noh and Kyogen theatre by the Noh Reimagined Festival, with a theme of ‘Nature Unwrapped’; this is a preview of the work. Two Moths in Real Time is inspired by the rhythms, structure, choreographic languages and metaphysical philosophy in Noh and Kyogen, finding a way through precise discipline towards expressive freedom and through complexity towards simplicity. Through extensive research and insightful training with Senzaburo Shigeyama and Dr Ashley Thorpe, we have tried to comprehend the performative, thematic and contextual elements of Noh and Kyogen, finding connections with our own practice in dance and queer performance. Two Moths in Real Time explores the idea of undoing harm, of reversal as a kind of progression, unravelling the falsehood of humans being somehow separate from nature.

Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry Moths
Tim Spooner Costume Design
Karina Tanabe Jones Costume Consultant
Mayumi Miyata and Stefan Hussong, Joji Yuasa, Benjamin Britten, Ka Baird, Yoko Ono, George Crumb, Akihiro Miwa, Stockhausen/Keiji Haino and Zeitkratzer, Haruomi Hosono Music

Sound recorded at Snape Maltings with the support of Britten Pears Arts (special thank you to Jamie Orchard-Lisle)


(8 minutes)

Sid Vicious (1957–1979)

I'm not vicious really. I consider myself kind-hearted. I love my mum.”

Punk pin-up. Murder at the Chelsea Hotel. Sex Pistols bassist. Delinquent. Innocent. Vicious. Kid.

Connor Scott Sid Vicious
Pam Tait Costume Design
Frank Sinatra, Sid Vicious, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno Music


Finding Grace
(10 minutes)

Grace Jones (b.1948)

“Be your own sugar daddy!”

Icon. Idol. Model. Jamaican Guy. Night clubber. Singer. Star.

Azara discovers Jones and what connects them; from listening to samples of her songs through her sister’s wall as a child, to finding out how pioneering and important Jones was as an adult.

Azara Meghie Grace Jones/Azara Meghie
Azara Meghie Text
Claire Ashley Costume Design
Grace Jones, Konshens and J Capri, LL Cool J Music


Ode to Edith
(13 minutes)

Edith Sitwell (1887 – 1964)

“I’m an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish”

Poet. Critic. Eccentric. Aristocrat. Muse. Campaigner.

Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry with members of Corali Dance Company: Veneshia Bailey, Graham Evans, Housni (DJ) Hassan, Bethan Kendrick, Sherifat King, Jackie Ryan Sitwells on Stage

Members of the Camberwell Incredibles: Danny Lucas, Daniel Reid, Blue Tierney, Karen Murphy, Charlene Francis, Ed Thompson, Stef Brown, Andrew Cove, Jo Conteh Sitting Sitwells on Screen

Tim Spooner Stage Costume Design
Darren Evans Stage Headdress Design and Film Lighting
Sheila Hay Stage Prop Design

The Artists of the Camberwell Incredibles supported by Robin Whitmore, Lauren Rigby, Anna Baines, Tris Bellotti Film Costume and Prop Design

Giusto Pio, Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Dmitri Shostakovich, FKA Twigs, Olivier Latry, Laurie Anderson, Alice Coltrane Music


INTERVAL (20 minutes)


Curtain Lady

(4 minutes)

An ode to Daniel’s family and Owen Ridley-DeMonick

Daniel Hay-Gordon and Tim Spooner Performers and Designers


I Wanted A Killer

(5 minutes)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film)

Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury) has important instructions for her son Raymond.

Eleanor Perry and Tim Spooner Performers
Bernard Parmegiani Music



(4 minutes)

Lesley Lawson/Twiggy (b.1949)

“You can't be a clothes hanger for your entire life”

Model. Cockney schoolgirl. 60s icon. Boyish. Twig-like legs.

Harry Alexander Twiggy

Tim Spooner Costume Design
The Kinks Music


Ra Ra Rasputin

(7 minutes)

Grigori Rasputin (1869 – 1916)

“Despite my terrible sins, I am a Christ in miniature.”

Russian peasant. Self-proclaimed holy healer. Legendary lover. Orthodox. Coercive. Indomitable. Endowed.

Oxana Panchenko Rasputin
Tim Spooner Costume Design
Pavel Chesnokov with the Russian Male Orthodox Choir, Boney M. Music


Cage & Paige: We Could Go On and On

(20 minutes)

“There are two things that don’t have to mean anything, one is music and the other is laughter” Immanuel Kant, paraphrased by John Cage

John Cage (1912–1992) and Elaine Paige (b.1948) star in a new avant-garde musical, the West End Hit, ‘Paige After Paige’. Cage, King of 20th century music, philosopher and partner of choreographer Merce Cunningham meets his match in Elaine Paige, the Queen of the Musical. Seemingly at odds and juxtaposed, together they explore the meaning of life, sound, music, memories, time, space and cats. And you thought you knew them so well.

Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry Cage and Paige
Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry Costume Design
Tim Spooner Prop Design

John Cage, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, Herman Hupfeld, Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson Music

Scripts of the text from Short & Sweet can be found at

Creative Team

Darren Evans and Rachel Porter Wigs, Hair and Make-up
Tim Spooner, Pam Tait and Claire Ashley Costume Design
Lucy Hansom Lighting Design
Nao Nagai Lighting Design for ‘Two Moths in Real Time’
Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry Sound and Film
Carly Hook Stage Manager
Claudia Palazzo Assistant Stage Manager
Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry (in collaboration with Azara Meghie for ‘Finding Grace’) Choreography and Direction

Other credits

Raymond Scott Music between works

‘Grace Jones’ by Lynn Goldsmith, ‘Edith Sitwell’ by Cecil Beaton, ‘Twiggy’ by John S Clarke, ‘John Cage’ by James Fraser, ‘Elaine Paige’ by Eva Mueller Photo slides

Short & Sweet is co-commissioned by London International Mime Festival, Noh Reimagined Festival, Duckie and Corali Dance Company

It is supported by Arts Council England, The Lowry, South East Dance, Britten Pears Arts, Barbican, Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre, Kings Place, London Performance Studios, Rambert School and Russell Maliphant

With thanks to all the artists and team involved, Ryan Ormonde, Carl Harrison, Sheila Hay, Patience Tomlinson, Jan Winter, Ruth Holdsworth, our Advisory Committee, Sarah and Jon Archdeacon, Robin Whitmore, Lauren Rigby, Anna Baines, Tris Bellotti, Akiko Yanagisawa, Senzaburo Shigeyama, Ashley Thorpe, Mamoru Iriguchi, ShayShay, Kazumi Taguchi, Kazuko Hohki, Franko Figueiredo, Kumiko Mendl, Helen Wallace, Jules Cunningham, Matt Webb, Jamie Orchard-Lisle and Isabel Gouveia.

Barbican Theatre Department

Toni Racklin Head of Theatre and Dance 
Simon Bourne Senior Production Manager 
Leanne CosbyJill Shelley, Angie Smith Producers 
Anna DominianBridget Thornborrow Assistant Producers 
Kyle Bradshaw Marketing Manager
Rebecca Moore Marketing Assistant
Angela Dias Senior Communications Manager
Ella Gold Communications Intern
Freddie Todd Fordham Communications Officer
Lauren Brown Creative Learning Producer (Theatre, Dance, Poetry)
Jamie MaiseyLee Tasker Production Managers  
Tony BrandSteve Daly, Jane DickersonMartin MorganStevie Porter Technical Managers  
Lucinda HamlinCharlotte Oliver Stage Managers 
John Gilroy, Nik KennedyJamie MasseyAdam ParrottTom SalmonJohn SestonChris Wilby Technical Supervisors 
David Green PA to Head of Theatre 
Caroline Hall Production Administrator 
Andrew Pellett Production Assistant 
Kendell FosterBurcham Johnson, Christian LyonsCharlie MannJosh MasseyMatt Nelson, Lawrence SillsNeil Sowerby Technicians 
Heather Readdy Systems and Maintenance Technician 
Fiona BadgeryGary HuntNicola Lake Venue Managers 
Rebecca Oliver Access and Licensing Manager 
Harriet DavisRob NorrisElizabeth Wilks Centre Managers (Delivery) 
Pheona Kidd Centre Manager (Planning) 
Mo Reideman Centre Manager (Health & Safety) 
Julian Fox, aLbi Gravener Stage Door

About Thick & Tight

Daniel Hay-Gordon and Eleanor Perry established Thick & Tight in 2012. Their award-winning work has been shown at Sadler's Wells, Southbank, Royal Opera House, Tate Britain and Liverpool, Wilton's Music Hall, Britten Pears Arts, Brighton Fringe, Sydney Fringe, Stockholm Fringe, Sophiensaele Berlin, Duckie and many more. Their work reaches dance, theatre, cabaret, gallery and festival audiences, often within a queer context where it is most at home. Trained at Rambert School, Daniel and Eleanor work extensively as freelance performers and choreographers in the UK and beyond.

You can find out more and follow us at:


London International Mime Festival

Directors: Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig

London International Mime Festival (LIMF) promotes contemporary visual theatre. Its productions have been nominated for, and won, Olivier Awards, and in 2017 the festival was honoured with the Empty Space - Peter Brook Special Achievement Award for its work over four decades. Founded in 1977, LIMF is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

LIMF 2022 gratefully acknowledges core financial support from Arts Council England, and the support of Institut français du Royaume-Uni towards the promotion of French artists.

The Pit