Pros: If you like your circus edgy and weird you’ll love this show.
Cons: The absence of structure was difficult to endure at times, and some of the ideas didn’t really go anywhere.
The sleazy, off-key world of Svalbard Company was seeping out of the venue and down the queue as the audience entered and took their seats. People were being badgered by the cast for spare tickets, making me wonder why they might have decided to bail out of performing at the last minute. Atop a pole, a man with giant antlers on his head was playing Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love on the mandolin. The stage looked like a junkyard on the wrong side of town. I felt deliciously unsafe, and decided to put my notebook and pen away.
Kicking off with rope work, a performer deliberately plummeted to the floor several times. It was as if he had a death wish, or as though he was taunting us with his daring, and this air of subversive menace pervaded much of the first half. It was as though they were counselling each other though periods of madness – grabbing and shaking each other between tricks which often ended up looking like brawls. The pole, rope work and acrobatics were executed perfectly, but seemed at times incidental to the dark rock ‘n’ roll party happening on the stage.
Sound played a big role, with electric guitar, bass, and sampling all employed. Antler-man, a sleazy glam rock god in dirty fur coat and PVC heels, was an impressive singer and musician, covering a range of songs from Folsom Prison Blues to, err, Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria. When the party turned nightmarish the soundtrack was reminiscent of Swedish electro band The Knife, with jittering beats and distorted voices, while disjointed masked creatures lumbered and crawled across the space. I found myself grimacing with revulsion at times, even as my eyes were wide with amazement. This leads to my main reservation with the show; having been repulsed and unsettled, the audience subsequently had to be prompted to clap for the finale tricks. Having said that, it seemed to me that Svalbard were doing exactly what they wanted, and they didn’t give a damn, which is what made this show fabulously compelling.
Created and performed by: B. Smith, J.S. Wiborn, T. Brand, S. Ruiz Albalate, A. Akrovatakis and P. Jasko
Scenography: K.S. Hansen
Lighting: Z. Rezna
Producer/Agency: Josefin Lindberg/Follow the Rabbit
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/all-genius-all-idiot
Booking Until: 27 August 2017