This latest touring production which takes claim to ‘re-invent’ or ‘redesign’ the performance values of circus and acrobatics was well received during its run at the Edinburgh Festival and has been showcased across the globe, from New York to London.
Created by Les 7 doigts de la main, or translated to the Seven Fingers, this is a fast-paced presentation of acrobatic skill mixed with dance discipline, video projection and comedy.
The performance starts encouragingly with the interjection between acrobatic feats and soliloquies from the performers which detail a little more about them as a person. This gives an interesting perspective and insight into the artist’s back grounding, and even personality traits, that an audience is rarely treated to within theatrical performance.
The inventive twist of these introductions is also mirrored in the use of inanimate objects which suddenly become acrobatic apparatus; for example, an old arm chair used to precariously balance a female acrobat, or basketballs and skateboards to create smooth, free-wheeling sequences.
Moments such as these are infectiously exhilarating and inescapably jaw-dropping. As the stunts become more stunningly death defying, however, sadly the element of narrative and character seem to equally patter out. The set-up of the performers personal stories never appear again, which is a dire shame in that what was proving to be different and inventive about this production in comparison to the many other ‘re-inventions’ of circus today somehow went missing during its discourse. It would have been engaging to learn more of the troupe of athletes as time progressed, yet it seems to stop short.
The apparent themes and narrative drives of some of the featured pieces, such as conflict and love/hate relationships, have been seen again and again the realm of contemporary performance; especially dance. A few more inventive outlooks on how circus can tell a story would have helped in the breaking away from these somewhat repeated storylines.
There is no denying that this is pure aesthetic entertainment, and could not be more fitting for a family outing in the half- term break, which the kids will undoubtedly love. However, some fixtures that may make the show stand out from its contemporary ‘re-inventing’ counterparts, such as Cirque Du Soleil, seem to fade throughout its duration.
- Ben Wooldridge