Circa: Humans

Circa – Humans, courtesy of Pedro Greig_6.jpg

Underbelly’s Circus Hub 
Aug 16-20, 22-26

Stagecraft : three-stars.png Performance : 4.png Gasps : 4.png Choreography : 4.png

Circa have been notable renowned within the contemporary circus industry since 2004. Creating influential circus performances to excite and enthral audiences worldwide. The award winning Circa, directed by Yaron Lifschitz has performed in 39 countries, pushing the limits of physical ability, while combining movement, humour, dance, theatre and circus. Circa return to the festival once again to perform ‘Humans’ at Underbelly in the Lafayette tent, a 550-seat venue, which on a Tuesday, was a sell out performance!

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As the Lafayette tent swells with the patiently queuing audience, a couple of performers dressed in black commence their warm-up, playfully undress down to their leotards, using the clothes to assist their stretches. Dressed in warm hues and transparent black clothing, the ten strong performers flip, spin and throw themselves on to the stage one by one to dynamic energetic music. For the past couple of years Circa have stripped back the glitz, glamour and fluffy bunny suits. Lifschitz has changed direction to provide a no frills, just an expert performance of acrobatics and circus art. Supported only by simple spotlights and empowering music.


The continual energetic bursts of movement and powerful stunts have the audience on the edge of their seat, at times there is so much activity you do not know where to focus. All the while the talented muscular performers make each movement seem effortless. The trust and playful familiarity the Circa cast maintain is admirable. The few props; swing, bricks and hanging belts are used sparingly, centring solely on defying gravity and twisting their inhuman-like elastic bodies into contorted forms. In once sequence they comically try to lick their elbow, demonstrating they are only human, however in the final act this is contradicted, as one man holds and balances four performers on his shoulders. As always the Circa crew do not fail to disappoint. I urge you to see this extraordinary performance before it sells out.

Reviewer : Sarah Lewis


Camille O’Sullivan: Where Are We Now?


Underbelly’s Circus Hub
Aug 10-13, 15-20, 22-26 (19:45)

I had been looking forward to this show all weekend, when the big advertisements went up around Edinburgh, Camille stood out, not just for her gothic beauty, but because her advertising campaign was massive, and heavily featured David Bowie. Indeed the title of the show is taken from his 2013 release “The Next Day.” But I knew that this was going to be much more than just a tribute. I avoid Bowie tributes because they never live up to the benchmark of the ascended master, having seen him live nine times, the live repertoire that I have experienced ended in 2004. Any release after that time was never performed live. Interestingly I have never seen a male interpret Bowie convincingly.

black_white_copy.295x0.jpgThe Underbelly Circus Hub is brilliantly situated in the rolling green of The Meadows, a welcome tonic from the busy city streets at this time of year. The queue for the performance that I was about to witness, wrapped itself around a Spiegel Tent in which Camille and her band were sound checking. The piano intro to Life On Mars made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The anticipation was building. We took our seats in the round as the voice of Bowie in conversation greeted the capacity audience, setting the tone for what was about to follow. This was a dedication to the Artists that had shaped Camille’s life, Interpreting the work of her musical heroes. Three ascended masters, Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Jacque Brell. With choice selections from masters that are still in the mortal coil. Nick Cave. PJ Harvey and Radiohead.

With a tight band of supporting musicians, Camille delivered a rock ‘n’ roll spectacular with a powerful voice and for the first time, I was thrilled by live renditions of Blackstar and Where Are We Now & Leonard Cohen’s final offering, You Want It Darker, a song that has featured in my DJ sets at festivals throughout the year, also thrilled. The antenna was further upped by a blistering rendition of Rock n Roll Suicide, a powerful nod to Ziggy Stardust that was introduced by a recording of the late masters farewell speech at Hammersmith Odeon in 1972. This was great stuff. The songs of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave I am not so familiar with, but with a performance as spectacular as this it inspired further investigation. especially the closing number Nick Caves “The Ship” was sung in harmony by the audience.

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert





Underbelly Circus Hub
Aug 8-26 (17.00)

Well it’s here at last the fringe and Kin was to be my first show! I had previously seen the posters for Kin and was intrigued by the guy in the hoop, who was he was the hoop the whole show was there more than one performer? All would shortly be answered I thought as I took my seat beside the stage with a couple of friends. This was to be not only my first Fringe show this year but also my first acrobatic performance so I had high hopes but didn’t really know what to expect.

The lights dimmed the tent filled with smoke and then out tumbled the performers, they weren’t really in costumes as such and wear wearing what appeared to be plain loose fitting clothing which to be fair would be fitting for an acrobatic performance. The stage was pretty bare and was basically a row of blocks at the back one for each performer and a desk and chair in the other corner suddenly they all climbed on to their plinths and stood posing with their heads held high. Then in strolled the most athletic looking woman I have ever seen in my life, now she looks fit I thought as she strutted about the stage. She started eyeing up the guys and then picked one to perform. You quickly realise that the show is some sort of futuristic  selection process for a woman to pick her mate. It is performed with wit and a lot of slapstick and you are drawn to the individual male characters as they endeavour to compete to win the affections of the super fit lady.

Now where was the hoop I wondered that I had admired on the poster, I didn’t have to wait too long probably a third of the way into the show and sure enough they brought out the big hoop. One performer was picked to enter the hoop and show what he had. I was right to been intrigued by the hoop it was a very skilful performance as he duly spun around inside the hoop with an array of special moves with enthralled the crowd. That was impressive I thought but was that it only 5 minutes of actual hooping I hoped not! There were also other tricks performed they brought out a giant seesaw which was used to propel the artists through the air with a great display of various summersaults and twists and turns and It was all delivered at a fast pace with more slapstick thrown in wherever possible which kept the performance both humorous and highly skilful.

Now this was the first night of the show and I am not sure if the actors where suffering a little from nerves or where a little rusty and not quite on point but there were a few of the tricks that weren’t quite delivered correctly with the actors taking what seemed to be quite sore falls. This however actually worked in their favour and the audience empathise with them more when one performer smashed heavily onto the seesaw from a fairly decent height he immediately picked himself back up and carried on like a true professional. That actually got one of the loudest applauses of the night though to be fair there were plenty of moments of spontaneous applause throughout the show. The skill level was generally very high and the tricks where daring.

I also liked the venue itself right in the heart of  the meadows the circus hub is located and on a nice day I would be happy to hang out there and catch a few of the shows while grabbing a few pints at the bar. There are two main tents for the performances and we were there to see Kin who were on in the big traditional blue circus tent to the left. Don’t worry when you see the size of the cue the tent was a bit of a Traduce and everyone fitted in no problem. We had arrived late and joined the back of the cue but when they started seating people we were all quickly inside. My only tip would be if you do arrive a little late try and not sit in front of the rigging at the corner of the stage it blocks your view quite a bit and it can be a pain to have to move about in your seat to try and follow the performers as they travel about the stage. Overall though I had a good time and really enjoyed the show it had an ok narrative to go along with the performance. The tricks were very decent and all of the performers where very fit and gave it their all.

Reviewer : Mark Parker




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Assembly George Square Theatre
August 7-28 (not 14, 21) / 15:00
Stagecraft : 4.png Performance : 4.png Gasps : 4.png

SNAP! is a charming and curious show produced by Casa Kim, from a performing troupe that is just one of the 19 groups who are performing as part of the third Korean Season at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. SNAP! is a spellbinding creatton that whisks you gently into a fantasy world of magical illusions,and provides an enchanting outing for the whole family. The show won Best Production at the Asian Arts Awards in 2016 and this year, seven of the top illusionists in South Korea have returned to expertly lead us through an unusual fantasy experience; magic interwoven with cheeky comedy and clever mime.

The show opened with fingershapes projected onto a screen. Not just standard bunny ears; but deft, practised fingers which along with perfectly timed sound effects, are able to conjure fully formed vicious barking dogs and Frank Sinatra in full flow. The entire show both needed and had a breathtaking integration with the sound and lighting. There was the odd split second delay, at times, but barely noticeable at the rate some of the illusions are going at, which feels like lightning speed. So fast, at times, that you’re likely to be missing the subtlety of a trick or two and that it wouldn’t be amiss to see the show for a second time.

There’s a solid looking door on stage, which opens the way to the magicians’ fantasy worlds. Each time the door opens, we are privy to peeking in to a series of beautiful and soothing dreamscapes, each one dramatic and ethereal in a variety of ways. Each of the seven men embodies a character such as The Alchemist, the Florist, the Oddball or The Dreamer. The three funny Tricksters in their stripey vintage costumes remind us of the silent slapstick of Laurel and Hardy or Harold Lloyd, anchoring the show with short skits like walking through Edinburgh getting pasted with flyers, as we alternate between different realities.

There are moments that are funny and impossible to work out; like the mischievous glove that seems to work entirely of its own accord, or the red ribbon that whistles through the air at odd moments. Clever scenes that juxtapose screen reality and 3-D reality, until we are confused about which is which. Creepy scenes like the strange, unexplained happenings in the artist’s studio. Breathtaking scenes as hoops inextricably disappear and transform into glitter.

Like a highly sophisticated and professional variety show, SNAP! is wonderful and truly novel in its entire scope, gentle and enchanting for children, but quirky and intriguing enough for adults. It manages to feel old fashioned but incredibly modern simultaneously, with its unusual and inventive illusions. But let me not spoil the show. Get down to the Assembly George Square Theatre and enjoy the ride.

Reviewer: Lisa Williams


Rosie Sings


Fingers Piano Bar
Aug 5-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27 (15.10)

Divine’s first review of this Fringe season took me to a quaint watering hole on Frederick Street in The New Town. To be the witness of a cabaret of stunning beauty, irrepressible panache and elegance comfortably worn; supported by the very handsome Douglas Price on baby grand piano. Having toured the UK and Europe as a vocalist and actress in musicals, plays, cabaret and concerts, Rosie has only just recently decided to go it alone (alongside Douglas of course) & in a recent interview with The Mumble told us why;

Well, being your own boss and playing by your own rules is so much fun, if a bit stressful. It’s just me until I hit the stage when I’m joined by my lovely musical director, Douglas Price (who is so awesome I genuinely can’t believe my luck)! I just want to sing what I enjoy singing, say what I want to say, be playful and have fun. I just fancy doing my own thing for a little while. If you want to do what you truly enjoy, you have to start by making it happen on your own, right? At the moment my only choice is to do that solo. No one knows who I am yet and hopefully by the end of August I’ll meet some people who understand me, where I’m coming from and humour me in spite of it. I’m finding myself again but it’s a newer more interesting me and I’d like to share that with people.

We are taken on a journey of Rosie Houlton’s life, beginning with her early years in Milton Keynes, in which place are set stories of her first experiences of teenage clubbing, romance and heavy petting, interspersed with impressive covers of songs made famous by Adele, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand. Each of these numbers were reproduced faithfully with an equally powerful vocal range to match. This within itself was enough to capture her audience, but Rosie is also a very funny lady,  incorporating audience participation into the show with a fun competition based upon naming theme tunes. This completed a very entertaining hour of performance art and as part of The PBH’s Free Fringe, it will nae cost you a penny, while you even get the gift of a goody bag at the end of the show! Its not what one wears but how one wears it, & Rosie is a talented, aesthetically pleasing and very generous lady, & to top it all off, her Mother is a Psychic like Divine! A Well Earned 4 Stars!

Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert


An Interview with Chris Cook

Chris+Cook+headshotHi Chris, where are you from?
I come from a town called Kendal in the Lake District originally but I’ve actually been living in Edinburgh for the past two years. I fell in love with the city over a decade ago when I first came to the fringe festival as a punter so it’s wonderful to now be living here and performing as part of the festival I adored so much as a young teenager.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
I always knew I was a good talker and I learned that I could use that to persuade and influence people. I started out doing simple bar-bets and scams to earn drinks in the pub. It wasn’t until later that I realised I could take those ideas and turn them into magic tricks.

There is a lot of showbiz front to your performances, does this come naturally?
I think so. I don’t often get nervous in front of a crowd. I suppose performing is like wearing a mask so the person they meet on stage isn’t necessarily a fully representative version of myself. The thing I find the most difficult is when I take that mask off and show the audience the real Chris that hides underneath. I think that’s a vulnerability rarely exhibited in magic shows but it’s something I’m fascinated in exploring.


You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
I always say that when it comes to magic, it is easy to make people laugh or applaud, it’s difficult to make people think, and it’s nearly impossible to make people feel. I strive to do all three. I know when I’ve hit it and I know when I fell short.

What does Chris Cook like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
Well that all depends on the time of year. If it’s winter, I like to go snowboarding or travel to warmer climates in search of places to mountain bike, swim in the sea or go exploring. During summer I’m often really busy so I like to spend spare time juggling, playing guitar or walking in the hills as I feel these things help me relax and unwind. During the actual fringe festival, if I’m not performing myself I’m either frantically running around seeing other people’s shows or trying to hide from the festival by playing boardgames in cafe’s with friends.

CONCEALED+Show+poster.pngYou are returning to the Fringe for another stint, can you tell us what you’re up to?
This is the first year that I’m bringing two brand new shows to the festival. The first is more of theatrical experience based around Control. I’m returning to a theme I explored two years ago with a show that was really challenging for me. I’m excited to be performing another show that is as much about the audience as the performer. It’s less about giving them a show and more about creating a community of people who go on a journey together. The audience get to determine the direction that journey takes. The second show is called Concealed and is a more intimate show. The magic happens right in front of the audiences faces and I get to tell them a bit more about my life as a juggler, street performer and magician.

You have been described as a “Cheeky magician who works the crowd with the slickness of a stand-up” : is there a comedic element to our show?
One of my biggest pet-hates in magic is that magicians often take themselves far too seriously. Magic is inherently silly so I like to embrace that and make it a funny experience. I think a lot of magicians get too caught up on being magicians and forget that they should also be actors or comedians or improvisers as well.


Can you describe the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
Like a Charlie Chaplin movie in fast forward, but on repeat for a month.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Chris Cook?
I’ve got private and public shows booked in around the country for September. I’ve also been asked to do some shows on cruise-ships and abroad that I’m interested in giving a go (even if it’s just to get a bit more sunshine than Scotland usually gifts me with). After the fringe my head is usually buzzing with new ideas to pursue so I’m looking forward to that.

You can catch both of Chris’ shows at the Fringe


Aug 6-27 : The Street (17.00)

Aug 5-27 : Voodoo Rooms (13.40)

An Interview with Baykali Ganambarr


Hello Baykali, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
My name is Baykali Ganambarr and I’m from a community called Galiwinku, which is located on a small remote Island called Elcho Island… far north east of Darwin in the Northern Territory at the very top end of Australia. At the moment we’re Melbourne bayside presenting a season at Map57, Wintergarden in St Kilda. We’re performing for another week, we’ve already been here for a week then we head off to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland this Saturday. The boys and I are really stoked about this upcoming tour, really excited.

When did you first realise you you could dance so well?
When I was a kid I saw my family dance, my uncles, brothers and father mainly traditional in ceremonies. Then I started to get inspired by my uncle who performed with Bangara. I started off with traditional, then came pop ’n’lock, break dance, hip hop and pretty much everything else. Being a kid in small community and watching the first DJUKI MALA dance I wanted to be with this company, in fact I needed to be there.


Can you tell us about Djuki Mala?
The original DJUKI boys were my idols and now I’m here representing. I can’t imagine how far DJUKI MALA has come from that first YouTube clip and became a world sensation.

You have been touring now for 10 years, how has your show evolved over that time?
This year is our 10th birthday, and we will take it for another 10 or 20 more years. Performing overseas was a different experience. Sharing our oldest culture in the world to the world stage makes us really proud. The audience we had on our overseas tour were hyped with our dance and story.

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Your show was an award-winning success at the this year’s Perth Fringe. How did you find the experience?
Perth was amazing! Almost a month performing and the crowds were excellent as always. The boys and I performed well and we really can’t believe how many awards we’re stacking up last year and this year. Very well deserved and hard work.

What does Baykali Ganambarr like to do when he’s not dancing?
When I’m not on tour I pretty much go back home to the island and go fishing, play footy and basketball and also I work in the community sports and recreation organising community events and sports, also movie nights competitions with nearby islands (communities).

Who is the chief choreographer behind the group, & where does the music come from?
Well Lionel my uncle, which is Big Franks son came up with the idea of Zorba the Greek Yolngu style as a way to show respect to Lionel’s sisters’ care taker which who was a Greek lady from the Darwin hospital. We were also lucky to have Nikki Ashby on board for this new show putting her flame and passion into choreography. She’s a Nunga woman from South Australia and she is amazing and the boys and I were blessed to have her with us.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Baykali Ganambarr?
2017 looks like it’s going to be a hectic year. Got heaps coming up. Looking forward to it. Thank you.

You can catch Baykali dancing with Djuki Mala this Fringe

Aug 3-13, 15-20, 22-28 

Assembly George Square Theatre (16.30)