Kate and Alex are a brother and sister with a story to tell. They are very close, alternating as siblings do between moments of touching affection and silly squabbles. The two tumble over each other, making good use of physical storytelling to transport us back in their memories to what seems like a happy, boisterous kind of childhood. They recount each other’s weaknesses and physical imperfections, repeating them over and over like irritating toddlers, and reminisce about making mix tapes which they would secretly listen to on a Walkman in the middle of the night.
It soon becomes apparent, though, that Circles isn’t simply an easy ride through rose-tinted memories. Alex and Kate are extremely protective of each other, as it turns out with good reason, and the dramas and hardships they have experienced give poignancy both to the reflective moments and the more violent physical sequences. A particularly cute scene early in the performance sees Kate stacking little toy cars on her sleeping brother’s body. He wakes and, rather predictably, begins to move them in circles, looking over at his sister who is occupied with her teddy bear and miniature tea cups.
The chemistry between the two performers, Leah Georges and Oliver Theobald, feels genuine, and they both give decent performances. They complement each other well in the various play-fight scenes, although I felt the physical element of the performance lacked variety and originality.
Limb2Limb Theatre Company has created a show which gives off nostalgia, sweetness and tragedy in just about the right quantities and the subject matter is undeniably touching. However, there is nothing particularly innovative about Circles and, more importantly, there’s a disappointing lack of emotional connection with the audience. All in all, it’s a bittersweet little show which presents a few surprises along the way but fails to force the audience to feel as deeply as it should.