Edinburgh Fringe 2015 Review: Circa: Close up

Daring acrobatics from fringe favourites Circa, keep the audience on tenterhooks but a broken fourth wall damages the effect. reviews

Image: Richard Davenport

Image: Richard Davenport


Venue: Underbelly, George Square

Circa return once again to the Edinburgh Fringe, with a new, dismantled approach to circus performance, aiming to provide an intimate evening with the small acrobat troupe.

The Australian company truly strip down their show to the bare limits this year, in which tricks including Chinese pole, hand balancing and intricate rope work are displayed before the audience’s eyes with immaculate precision. This is enhanced by the multimedia inclusion of an atmospheric sound track, brooding light displays and a large screen that exhibits the performers in slow motion and high definition, their toned bodies and contorted muscles magnified for everyone to see.

However, this expression of artistry is nothing in comparison to the intimacy provided by the venue itself. Once these nerve-racking stunts are performed the atmosphere becomes so tense that each whispered instruction and intake of breath can be heard by the audience, drips of sweat running of the bodies of the performers can be seen and the tension in the performers bodies is palpable.

One aspect that did let the performance down however, was the slightly contrived attempts at breaking the fourth wall as the four performers deconstructed their particular acts to the audience through speech. Whilst conceptually modern, the show felt overly scripted and Todd Kilby, the host of the evening, seemed to express a desperate desire to portray humour and personality.

This does not mar the performance however, with a stunning finale involving hula-hooping on a magnificent scale, which is enhanced by slow motion shutter speed technology that mimics the path of the performer.

Overall, the show is one that will take your breath away and the tricks performed are unique, impressive and dangerous, yet the deconstructed element overall felt contrived and forced and the multi-media screen may have benefited from simply magnifying the tricks as they were performed rather than playing pre-recorded film.