All Genius All Idiot

All Genius All Idiot is a quirky and outrageous piece that explores the animalistic side of human nature using contemporary circus, performance art and live music. This show is brought to us by Svalbard a company made up of four acrobats from Spain, England, Germany and Sweden who all met at the world’s leading circus school DOCH in Sweden. It is definitely a wacky show. On entering the space, we are greeted by Ben Smith perched on a Chinese pole playing a mandolin, dressed in a fur coat, antlers and fishnet tights. Santiago Ruiz is scurrying about with a severed leg. One performer is ‘hanging out’ in the scaffolding, while the other is hidden behind a trolley. The set has a hippy compound or cult community feel to it with a tent, shopping trolley and general scrapyard junk – a perfect setting for anarchy.

Maybe more wacky than wonderful

Each performer is a musician and acrobat, taking turns to sing, rap or play an instrument while also delivering skilful acrobatics. This show is comprised of circus tricks, performance art, cross dressing, burlesque and a live concert. At times, this mash up works wonderfully but other times some of the transitions don’t work as well. An example being when the performers make the shift from serious circus to a pumping concert where we are expected to clap along. One cast member had to instruct the audience to join in which made it feel a bit unnatural. That being said, there is no doubt in Svalbard’s sheer skill and talent as performers. There are many nail biting moments where one performer is balancing on Ben Smith’s head while he is still wearing his antlers. Each performer brings their own unique style of movement and, yet again, I find myself feeling very ordinary in the presence of such superior strength and skill.

This show enters into an era of new-age circus that explores themes of anarchy, gender subversion and human nature. As the title suggests we witness moments of genius and idiocy throughout the performance. To me, this piece felt a little pretentious and was maybe more wacky than wonderful. But if you are a fan of contemporary circus, All Genius All Idiot is definitely worth a watch.

Reviews by Lynn Rusk

Assembly Roxy

Burnt Out

The Studio

The End of Eddy

King's Theatre

Cold Blood

Pleasance Courtyard

Nina Conti: In Therapy

Assembly George Square Studios

The Stevenson Experience: Identical as Anything


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Quirky and outrageous, All Genius All Idiot revels in the absurdities of life, using extreme circus artistry to highlight human behaviour at its most animalistic. Svalbard bends the edges of contemporary circus and blends it with theatre, physical comedy and live music to create a truly original piece that you will remember for its surreal quality as well as its awe-inspiring skills. It features Chinese pole, aerial rope, hand balance and acrobatics, driven by a hauntingly beautiful original soundtrack. 'A hedonistic celebration of the Bacchanalian spirit' (

Most Popular See More

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets