Reclaim

This circus, dance and music show accepts no boundaries. Billed as an imaginary shamanic ritual, it opens to the sound of a drum, and a brutal, primitive folk dance. But these acrobats (one girl and four men) are not confined to being human, they take on shamanic animal forms, on all fours, with wolf skull faces, they fight, snarl, bark and invade the audience. They throw each other into the air, performing high somersaults and backward flips just below the canopy roof. The animals fly and swim; they behave as lone wolves, or wild packs, or a pack ruled by a magus. These dramas and transformations are accompanied by the sound of two cellists and a singer performing baroque music across a range of European languages (Armenian, English, German, Italian).

Fills you with the joy at what the human body can do and be

The music performances are key to the overall experience, and, following the themes of transformation, the musicians are not just musicians. One of the cellists continues to play without a false note, as she is lifted one acrobat on top of another high into the air. The singer, Blandine Coulon takes on simultaneous roles as actor, dancer, acrobat; all without a single quiver in her voice.

As the show progresses, spectators are literally lifted into the experience, as acrobatics move them across the circle, onlookers become involved in a scene with a puppet, (manipulated by the acrobat Chloé Chevallier); and individuals are brought into the performance circle for the finale.

Describing a show as immersive is common currency, yet this Belgian company, T1J, creates a visceral experience that is truly worthy of the word. They engage the audiences’ primitive emotions, including the thrill of different types of fear; surprised gasps at the danger of the acrobatics, the sense of invasion as the human animals prowl among the crowd, tense anticipation at the sound of the heavy axe dragged around the circle next to the toes of the front row, the ancient reflex as a snarling animal passes by. (For those with children, be aware of the 12+ guideline.)

This stunning combination of singing, acrobatics, dance, drama and cello playing fills you with the joy at what the human body can do and be. The audience gave a standing ovation.

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Reviews by Mark Harding

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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.
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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.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

This is not a show, but an act of resistance. Inspired by the Ko’ch ritual, Reclaim draws the audience close to examine life and imagine a sustainable future. Two cellists and a live opera singer interweave with beautiful circus and acrobatics in a form of secular prayer. After years of distancing from each other, this powerful collective experience allows us to recover and reclaim what our world needs urgently – humanity. Presented by acclaimed and innovative Belgian company T1J, this is circus which pushes your expectations to the limit.

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