Casting Off (3 stars)

Casting Off

Rough and ready circus three-hander takes a wry look at ageing and women's roles

The oldest member of Casting Off has just crashed off the stage and into the laps of two women in the front row. Mock mortified, she freezes, checks they're ok, then reattempts her leap, this time executing it perfectly. It's the first of several moments when the playfully christened 'Slip' wrongfoots our expectations about older women's bodies. Grey haired and wiry, she proves as agile as her two (much) younger co-performers.

Casting Off merges spoken word with acrobatic tricks, and an aerial finale. Subverting stereotypes of circus women as young and glamourous, they chat about their to-do lists (book smear test, get eyes tested) while balancing atop each other's shoulders, or on a precarious stack of chairs. The show has a rough and ready charm, but set ups between tricks drag, and the dialogue lacks sparkle. The absence of music also contributes to a sense that the show just never lifts off the ground, despite excellent tumbling and cradle work.

With crash mats being re-positioned, and performers humorously apologising in advance for accidents, the piece treads a risky line between deconstructed and under-rehearsed. Having said that, a few more performances will tighten things up. A promising new company.

Assembly George Square Gardens until 26 Aug (not 20), 5.15pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).

Casting Off

  • 3 stars

Sharon Burgess Productions and A Good Catch Intergenerational circus with lots to say: the personal is political, fury is fun and the acrobatics downright dangerous – especially when life gets in the way. Casting off stereotypes, these dynamic Australian women tumble, talk, fly, and balance precariously. A disarming…

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