Underbelly George Square
Wednesday 5th – Monday 31st August 2015 (not 12th, 18th, 25th)
Circa have been at the forefront of contemporary circus since 2004, creating influential circus performances that test, excite and enchant worldwide audiences. Director Yaron Lifschitz award winning circus art has been performed in 33 countries, pushing the boundaries of physical ability and amalgamating movement, dance, theatre and circus. It is this year, they return to The Fringe with the thrilling world premiere ‘Close Up’, commissioned by Uderbelly especially for their famous purple cow.
It is an intentionally smaller venue for Circa as ‘Close Up’ is different from Circa’s usual repiortor, a dangerous gamble inspired by Antonioni’s cult 60s film ‘Blow-up’, the verb list of Richard Serre – an American sculptor and contemporary performance art. Possibly one of Circa’s most risky of shows to date. The stage is level with the front row audience, creating a more intimate experience. Ultra slow-motion close-up footage of bodies tumbling effortlessly through the air is superimposed on the rear screen.
The four strong performers appear wearing black and white tux proceed to strip off to their shorts and top to commence a series of balancing acts demonstrating muscular agility and strength. Daniel O’Brien rotates his body in an unusual conversion. The performers then audibly state the verb list from American sculptor Richard Serre to which they perform, “to support”, “to catch” – the audience gasp as one of the acrobats fall and is skillfully caught at the very last moment. “To jump” – another springs in all directions like Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout, demonstrating amazing athletic ability. Four chairs are then bought on stage and members of the audience are invited to get ‘close up’ physically with the artists. With focused professionalism skill and trust the team built a chair tower, one acrobat balanced on top.
A brief interlude from the live act is created when a short film of striking graphic ‘close up’ body images and slow motion body percussion is projected on the rear screen. Todd Kilby, martial arts expert, surfer and specialist in Chinese pole said, “I hit myself in the chest and the amount of ripples that went through, you’d never expect it at all. I’ve definitely learnt things about my body and other acrobat’s bodies that I didn’t know about.”
Lauren Herley performs a series of unremarkable feats on a vertical rope. She spins, flips and literally walks up the rope then tumbles down. The bright stage lights illuminating her body create a simple shadow against the rear white backdrop. Todd Kilby introduces the next act, as he dresses himself he explains the need to wear this specialised clothing for protect his skin from the Chinese pole. He climbs up like a monkey and the audience gasps with the tension as he falls down to the ground, safely catching himself in the nick of time. Next we see a hula hoop act where the artist adds hoops, spinning them from all four limbs at the same time, until there are 15 plus hoops circling her body. For the finale they pop through the rear paper screen backdrop, tearing it up with careless abandon.
Although ‘Close Up’ was not as impressive as last years outstanding ‘Beyond’ in the memorial venue of the McEwen’s Hall, is still an outstanding performance of human feat acrobatics and theatre performance I can only dream of! Instead of using complex sets and the razzle-dazzle costumes, these four extraordinary artists demonstrate the undiluted awe-inspiring language and skills of their own bodies. FIVE STARS