Transgression

‘Turnpike’, ‘three-sixty’, ‘tailwhip’ and ‘wall ride’: these are just a few of the words that entered my vocabulary in the hour I spent watching ten talented Edinburgh youths fling themselves off the ‘monster’, hop onto the ‘fun box’, twist over the ‘porter’ and flip from a six-foot something-or-other.

Transgression is a show developed by a group of urban freesporters to fund their facility in Leith. In it, individuals showcase their talents as breakdancers, free-runners, trial bike riders, extreme unicyclists, BMX tricksters and rollerblade daredevils. In the first half, we see Footloose, the buff breakdancer, spin on his head, Jason bounce his unicycle “woodpecker”-style close to a volunteer’s groin, Danny casually twirl his trial bike as he plummets five feet and VJ, the fearless free-runner, scale the tent-like structure in order to throw himself gymnastically to the ground. This is followed by the equally impressive rollerbladers and BMX riders, who flip, twist and bounce from ramp to wall.

The show has a friendly, experimental feel and the performers sometimes seem as surprised as the audience when they complete a trick. The athleticism and daring of all involved is utterly impressive and you can’t help but catch your breath when a rollerblader launches into a full flip from which it seems impossible that he’ll land on his feet. Sometimes he doesn’t and sometimes the trick is prefaced with a only half joking, “I’m not convinced he’s not going to die”, but it’s incredible nonetheless.

To some extent, one imagines the only real difference between this and watching the same kids mess around at a non-ticketed skate park is the microphone in the host’s hand. However, if you’re suffering from a bit of Fringe fever, this is a refreshing break from black box theatres and earnest plays. There are some simply spectacular sights, not least the 13 year old “wee James” who hurls his rollerblade-clad self into frightening flips and tricky turns. As the somewhat obnoxious drunk beside me who kept shouting for the performers to pull their trousers up commented: “He’s class!” They all are.

Reviews by Natasha Long

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The Blurb

Rival gangs battle with the authorities over ownership of the urban landscape. BMX. Freerunning. Breakdancing. Aggressive skating. Trials bikes. Extreme unicycling. Urban cool and excitement. A unique outdoor performance in the open heart of the city. www.transgressionpark.co.uk

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