With the ascendance of circus being one of the great success stories of the Fringe in the past few years, there is no shortage of breathtaking physical feats taking place all over the city. Few, however, are quite as accomplished or as joyful as
All carried out with a kind experimental and playful edge, as if these immensely experienced performers are discovering their talents afresh in every show
Many circus staples are on offer: trapeze-work, danglings hoops and a quite gorgeous rope routine to finish of the show and yet these are all carried out with a kind experimental and playful edge, as if these immensely experienced performers are discovering their talents afresh in every show. They find novel ways of exploiting their apparatus: at one point a glorious, tranquil encounter takes place within a trapeze. The loving sense of cooperation also plays out, visible in the performers’ gazes, ostensibly awe-struck, as their companions perform their death-defying feats. Further, an affection for patterns and symmetry is also eviden: one of the most moving moments involves constructing a moving half-wheel out of the bodies of these supremely flexible performers.
The performers bring a variety of individual talents into play as well. From Natano Fa'anana’s grounded Somoan dance talents to Kali Retallack’s almost impossible bendiness, the dialogue between the elements of earth and air is majestic. There are also a few playful middle fingers to the gender-binary. The men appear in skirts and rather elaborate corsets and the women effortlessly lift their male counterparts. Moreover, there is a certain generous ambiguity: it is up to us to decide what the playful glances and childish dynamics between the performers signify and a red lampshade that fascinates several of the performers is equally left to our imagination. One might quibble with the music choice - cover versions of Gotye and slightly schlocky circus fare seem out of place. However, this is essential viewing for circus fans.