He’s back! Our Artistic Director Adrian Berry returns with the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Circus Playlist.
OK, 2018 Edinburgh Fringe – it’s that time once more when I whizz through half a dozen or so circus shows and compare them to a random album from the depths of my mind. Who’s going to be this year’s Beyoncé and who will win the half-baked Half Man Half Biscuit prize? Thankfully it was a great year.
A Good Catch: Casting Off
Winner of the Total Theatre and Jacksons Lane Award for Circus
Let's start with the winner of the Total Theatre and Jacksons Lane Award for Circus – A Good Catch and Sharon Burgess Productions’ Casting Off. Much has been said about this evidently Australian intergenerational female work, and rightly so. But more than that it’s a hugely skilled, big-hearted show that breaks down barriers throughout and wins you over from the start and all the way through this charming hour. The interaction and banter between the three is addictive. It’s a simply brilliant work from a trio who have been together for most of their entire lives.
Album: The Orlons, The Wah Watusi (nostalgic girl power from a trio of female powerhouses)
Casus: You and I
More from down under – it was indeed a golden year for the Aussies. Casus’ You and I is a moving, flowing dance-circus work, mainly ground-based but also with some truly gorgeous static trapeze. A slightly twee subject matter – the two men’s relationship, both domestic and intimate – was explored with finesse, subtlety and fragility. Set pieces merged effortlessly, I fell into their loving world and by the end was on my feet with a tear in my eye.
Album: Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra, Nancy and Lee 3 (a perfect duo with evident love)
Company 2: Sediment
Oh sod it, let’s stick with that huge hot, dry continent as it pretty much won over the Fringe this year. Company 2’s Scotch and Soda was a massive runaway hit a few years ago, but the new work Sediment is a different proposal entirely. Another duet, this loose take on Dostoevsky’s Notes From the Underground I felt owed a little to Ricochet’s Smoke and Mirrors in parts (if they indeed saw it) and it took a little time to warm up in terms of the narrative and relationship. But boy when it did there were so many esoteric delights within. A play on relationship power, Sediment is a visual feast and feat of athleticism, subverting norms and playing with genres. I adored it.
Album: Nils Frahm, All Melody (a stuttering contemporary abstract form with real vision)
Album: Marc Almond, Heart on Snow (historic eastern ballads brought bang up to date)
Album: Neko Case, Hell On (primal nature with knotted textures)
Gandini Juggling: 8 Songs
Guilty pleasure time as I return to the Roxy for Gandini Juggling’s 8 Songs. With a soundtrack of Bowie, Dylan, The Velvet Underground and more, I was already won over before I sat down. It’s a light, seamless ensemble affair that does what it says on the tin but with joy, ground-breaking juggling (obviously) and a sense that the company are loving every minute. It’s almost like a Gandini side project, so I could liken it to The Last Shadow Puppets' The Age of the Understatement, but no – let’s go with:
Ade’s Top 100 Spotify Playlist (delve into my head)
Album: Kendrick Lamar, Damn (minimalist, urgent, playing with form)
Album: Powerdance, The Lost Art of Getting Down (a fresh and funky place of transformation and abandon)
OK, I’m outta time and outta space. Check out the shows, check out the records. See you next year.
A Good Catch and Sharon Burgess Productions’ Casting Off was seen at Assembly George Square Gardens. Recirquel: My Land and Gandini Juggling: 8 Songs were seen at Assembly Roxy. Lumo Company: Wiredo was at C South. Patfield and Triguero: Gibbon was at the Assembly Rooms, George Street. Barely Methodical Troupe’s Shift was at Underbelly’s Circus Hub.
All shows were presented as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018.
For more on the Total Theatre Awards 2018 winners and shortlist, see here.
Featured image - Lumo Company: WireDo (credit: Mia Bergius)