- Claire Sawers
- 10 August 2018
Ballet meets the circus in this mesmerising, magic show
Using the word 'circus' might give the wrong idea about this impressive show from Hungarian company Recirquel, featuring some pretty outstanding Ukrainian talents. Yes, there are acrobatics, jugglers and gymnasts, but it's circus staged in a braver, more minimal and modern way, allowing each act time and space to show off some fairly mind-bending skills.
There's a circus saying, that the less talent you have, the more props you need. And whether that's true or not, there are no motorbikes, safety nets or hula hooping girls here, just a very stripped back set covered in sand, and seven artists in a nude-coloured wardrobe of hessian monks' hoods and zero VPL underpants. It's nothing like the show Recirquel brought to the Fringe last year, Paris de Nuit, a saucy cabaret set in the 1930s, with lots of Bob Fosse-style dance moves and athletic high kicks in fishnets.
Andrii Spatar opens My Land with a balletic display of soft power, serenely shifting his weight from one hand to another, making mesmerising curves and lines with his taut torso in the air. Twin brothers Andrii and Mykola Pysiura draw gasps from the crowd as one balances gracefully on the other's head and stoic contortionist Roman Khafizov doesn't flinch as serene gymnast Yevheniia Obolonina does a feather-light routine on his upturned solar plexus, effortlessly dovetailing their elastic limbs around one another.
The finale involves some athletic partnering with a ladder from Sergii Materynskyi in time with the music; part of a specially-created, dramatic score of strings and drumming that involved getting monks in a remote Ukrainian village to record their chanting just for the show. Some simple magic with mirrors and old fashioned suspense and timing put the cherry on the cake.
Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug (not 13, 20), 8.10pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).