News Column

Edinburgh festival 2014 review: Circa – Beyond opens the door to a secret world

August 23, 2014

Lyn Gardner, theguardian.com



There was a moment in the middle of Circa's latest show a cut or, you might say, a distilled version of a piece seen in London in 2013 when I suddenly thought of Alison and Jimmy's bears and squirrels in Look Back in Anger. Alison and Jimmy create an imaginary world where they can play out their relationship, and Beyond is rather like being allowed to slip through the door into somebody else's secret world, maybe even into their mind.

The shadowy McEwan Hall becomes an other-worldly place enveloped in a hallucinogenic haze. People in outsize rabbit heads wander around; a man in a bear costume attempts to climb a Chinese pole, and performers can suddenly run amok like crazed chickens. Everything is a little upside down. It turns out that a woman, rather than a man, is the strongest person in the room. Bodies contort into shapes and positions that should be impossible, and two women become conjoined as if they are one. A human totem pole is supported en pointe.

This is a strange, smoky show from the Australian circus company, who may be well on their way to world domination but still have a highly developed sense of the ridiculous. It both celebrates and laughs at the absurdity of our attempts to climb the pole, do a Rubik's cube in impossible circumstances, and tie ourselves in knots.

The performers are astonishing in the casualness with which they display their extraordinary skill. They can do things with their bodies fly and flip through the air as if they own it that we can only dream of doing. But we identify with them, because we know that the skin between their world and ours is a very thin one. Beneath the absurd normality of our existence is a place where lunacy bubbles; where we can all be giants and strongwomen, too.

Until August 25. Box office: 0131-226 0000. Venue: Underbelly, Bristo Square.


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Source: Guardian Web


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