No Show

No Show is perhaps the perfect show: one that claims to be nothing at all.

This show is thoughtful, empowering and awe-inspiring. It cannot be missed.

It opens with a feminine, smiling, lyrical, tumbling dance number that feels a bit off and out of sync. All the gymnastics the women perform are, of course, very impressive, but something about this opening number makes you feel as if the performers are holding back, making you wait and trying to tell you something.

It turns out they don’t really enjoy this type of fluffy performance. They are tired of making the work they do look easy. They are powerful athletes, which is what they prove over and over again in the piece. These women and their work deserves to be taken seriously. They are putting life and limb at risk every day they put on their circus outfits to hang by their hair and flip across stages.

There is another element of their performance, which is absolutely heartbreaking. Alice, an acrobat, tries to speak throughout the performance, but she is stopped every time and forced to show her talent and smile to the audience. You can hear the audience sniffling in tears. All she is trying to do is to welcome and thank everyone for being there, yet she is told again and again nobody is interested in hearing her speak.

Another performer, Kate, tells a story about how she is not allowed to power tumble, but that she is asked again and again for smiles and splits: the male tumblers tell her that she “is good… for a girl.”

This performance truly highlights the danger of circus performance. It is truly terrifying to watch after the tricks were explained. Additionally, I am almost positive one of the performers was actually kicked in the face during a struggle.

The name, No Show, says it all. These women do not want to just put on a pretty show for you; they want to change the way you look at circus. This show is thoughtful, empowering and awe-inspiring. It cannot be missed. 

Reviews by Blair Simmons

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The Blurb

New contemporary all-female circus from award-winning director Ellie Dubois. What do you expect when you go to the circus? The glitzy smiles, the glitter of sequins, the drum rolls as performers effortlessly perform death-defying acts? No Show joyously and heartbreakingly reveals what lies hidden beneath the showmanship. There will be desperate attempts and heroic failures, glorious achievements, bruised bodies and egos. No Show goes behind the flawless smiles and perfect execution to showcase the wobbles, the pain, and the real cost of aiming for perfection. A show for anyone who has tried, failed and failed better.