WhatsOnStage Logo

Shelter Me (Theatre Delicatessen)

Circumference's circus-based immersive show is a night to 'go with the flow and enjoy the view'

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
WhatsOnStage logo
Aislinn Mulligan in Shelter Me
© Richard Davenport

This genre-defying new show from Circumference at Theatre Delicatessen, the former Guardian offices in Farringdon, is a sometimes stunning but often frustrating experience.

Best described as a promenade circus, it features a talented troupe of performers from companies including Shunt, Cirque Eloize and Ockham's Razor, and loosely explores themes of modern communication and trust.

Its USP, if you will, is the use of audience members' mobile phones to guide them through the experience. In practice this is a hit and miss approach - we're 'buddied up' with a fellow attendee, which is a neat concept by the end, but creates 20 minutes of confusion at the start.

But there's some stunning close-up acrobatics to enjoy, from a moving and gravity-defying duet atop a caravan (performed by Aislinn Mulligan and Nich Galzin) to a rooftop finale that truly takes the breath away.

Pablo Meneu in Shelter Me
© Richard Davenport

In between, we shuffle around the bowels of the building in desperate search of structure. At one stage we make coffee together - don't ask me why - and are huddled into a small space and asked to talk amongst ourselves. A promising sequence involving a German wheel rolling down a corridor was halted on press night due to technical problems.

There's a palpable warmth to this ensemble - completed by Helena Reynolds, Pablo Meneu and Ellie Rose Rusbridge - that creates both a welcoming atmosphere and a spirit of adventure. But Maia Alexander's production badly needs tightening up and a greater sense of overall purpose.

But then perhaps I'm expecting Shelter Me to fit a theatrical template that it simply doesn't want to. Yes, it has shades of Punchdrunk, but without pretensions of profundity. In the end, this is a night to go with the flow and enjoy the view.

Shelter Me continues at Theatre Delicatessen until 5 July