Sonics in Duum

As one of many circus shows visiting Edinburgh this month, Sonics in Duum has some pretty stiff competition. So while their gymnastic abilities are top-notch, this company of acrobats and dancers simply does not have the showmanship to measure up.

Even when trying to modernise a circus show, you still need something that keeps the audience paying attention for the full hour, and Sonics in Duum’s awkward narrator was not much of a ringmaster.

Sonics in Duum is a series of athletic feats held together by a decidedly flimsy storyline. Introduced by a mask-wearing narrator, we learn that this is a post-apocalyptic story, of a sort. Everyone on the narrator’s world retreated beneath the ground long ago and have since lost the power of speech. The show follows their journey back up into the light, but beyond this the plotline is oddly difficult to follow and lacks any kind of emotional hook.

This is a group of skilled professionals, and when left to their own devices as acrobats, they can’t fail to impress. Unfortunately, the muddled storytelling in between each scene felt more like an interruption than something to join all the sections together.

Even when trying to modernise a circus show, you still need something that keeps the audience paying attention for the full hour, and Sonics in Duum’s awkward narrator was not much of a ringmaster. Given the costumes and general setting (which seemed vaguely reminiscent of Jim Henson creatures or the films of Studio Ghibli), they would have benefited from a more clear-cut fairytale storyline by a better writer, possibly with a couple of more easily discernable characters thrown in.

There’s definitely still an audience for traditional acrobat shows, but it’s understandable that each one might feel the need for some kind of gimmick. The post-apocalyptic fantasy world of Sonics in Duum could work very well after a couple of changes, beginning with a rewrite of the narration.

Reviews by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gilded Balloon

Sonics in Duum

★★★
Summerhall

The God That Comes

★★★★★
Paradise in Augustines

Michelangelo Drawing Blood

★★★
Zoo Southside

Riders

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Duum pays homage to the legendary underworld of Agharta. The audience will be catapulted into a mystical place where Sonics will bring you colours, rules, rhythms and secrets. Breathtaking aerial acrobatics and athletic performances, unusual scenic structures tell how people try to make the Duum, the jump towards the earth surface. Duum is actually the sound of a jump. Serafino and six extraordinary aerial acrobats always invent new expedients searching for the right vibration, the secret that will make them leave the underworld forever. ‘An extraordinary and harmonious team of acrobats’ La Repubblica).