Pros: Tense throws, scarier catches, and stomach-turning contortion abound.
Cons: Lots of circa, not quite enough peep.
If Love Island isn’t making you feel insecure about your ‘side bits’, this show certainly will. Fighting-fit Australian collective Circa Contemporary Circus’ dazzling show provides Southbank spectators with plenty of jaw-dropping acrobatics, circus flair and sleaze – though not quite in equal measure. Whilst the daring lifts, throws and circus antics had the audience frozen in fear, it would have been nice to see some of the more naughty interludes.
Actor Jarred Dewey shone on the trapeze with impressive strength and skill, whilst his seemingly impossible body contortions were wonderfully vile. Jessica Connell’s hypnotic hula hooping was equally as enchanting – at points she had several hoops twirling on each limb, much to the audience’s delight.
Audience engagement might have been strengthened had other cast members adhered as forcibly as performer Scott Grove did to his facial expressions, which were faultless throughout. Playing out the narrative surely required a great deal of creativity from the cast: the show had no dialogue, so whilst the performers should be commended for their physicality and the silhouettes they created to tell the story, Grove’s ability to convey his emotion through his expressions eclipsed the other cast members – and is something they might learn from.
The interludes – which included everything from throwing an imagined ball between the audience, to playful hand-puppetry played out in front of the cast members’ crotches (use your imagination!) – provided excellent pacing. Kudos to technical director Jason Organ in his choice of Shazammable songs to complement the changing pace, which ranged from syncopated beats to low-fi renditions of vintage classics.
At points, some of the trickier manoeuvres that the cast didn’t quite pull off could have been more smoothly handled. The calibre of some of the bigger throws – whilst they did up the stakes – felt a bit like papering over the cracks when they failed to completely nail it. Thankfully, the audience were both accommodating and understanding. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that there was quite clearly a last-minute substitution amongst the cast, which might well have explained some of the slip-ups.
This is certainly one to consider, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. Whilst the cast certainly wowed the audience, it might have been good to include just a tad more erotic influences in order to deliver the voyeurism promised in the show’s title.
Director: Yaron Lifschitz
Technical Director & Lighting Designer: Jason Organ
Booking Until: 18 August 2018
Box Office: 03333 444 167
Booking Link: http://www.underbellyfestival.com