Australian acrobatic quartet Casus start their performance as they mean to go on: with an unshowy display of brilliance. Emma Sarjeant walks on stage, quietly places three cartons of eggs on the floor and walks along them with perfect precision. She is joined by her three teammates and what follows is a remarkable and fascinating acrobatic display. These four performers push human strength and physical versatility to the utmost, not hiding their fragility, always keeping us aware that at any moment one of them could falter.
The theme of the show is eggs and like the eggs they use as props these bodies are fragile, easily broken with just one slip. Over the eerie music and through the lights we can hear breath thumping and see muscles straining; from the top of a swaying human tower an egg is dropped and it splats, hard, into a bowl. The tension is spellbinding, but it is interlaced with a gentle and innocent humour too.
The show is an hour of electrifying intensity and astonishing acrobatics. Set in the round, on a small, sparse stage, there is no smoke and mirrors, no masking the sheer human effort involved here; these are four people stretching their bodies and testing their relationships to the utmost. The performers’ interactions are totally compelling – their sequences seem to tell stories, and they push one another into position with total trust. The bond these four share binds the show with humanity and care, each individual interaction conveying trust and humour.
Knee Deep is an extraordinarily human display of ability and fragility. The acrobatic skill alone should be enough to draw a crowd – some sequences are quite literally breathtaking – but these four have something that runs far deeper than physical aptitude, and it is totally mesmerising.