DNA (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Kate Pardy

Impressive circus skills exploring gender politics

A refreshing alternative to old-fashioned circuses, where the female acrobats' only chance to shine is looking cutesy or being artfully thrown around, Casus Circus always likes to bend stereotypical gender roles just as much as limbs.

This Australian troupe brought Knee Deep to the Fringe in 2012 not long after the company formed, then followed it with Driftwood and last year's You & I, focusing on a male couple.

DNA features the most humans on stage so far, with four female and three male performers dressed in shades of red, wowing the audience with human origami routines on the trapeze, graceful balancing on towers of chairs and skilful aerial rope tricks.

A woman balances people on her head, a man gets flung through the air and the traditional sexy-lady-on-a-swing bit gets a nice twist when Sarah McDougall hangs off metal chains in red stilettoes, clowning as she pretends to make a clumsy mess of it all, tripping over her huge, cumbersome, frilly pantomime frock.

The staging and choreography is creative, making spinning playground roundabouts from people and showing how much trust and cooperation is needed for each routine, with someone literally left dangling at one point.

There is a little gilding of the lily in places, with some distracting mingling among the crowd and a few too many routines going on at once, sometimes taking the focus away from individual performers. And one section, where Jesse Scott does a menacing lip sync to 'Tear You Apart' (a song about an obsessive, predatory crush that sounds like a dark incel anthem) seems to be commenting on unwanted male attention, but ironically keeps the audience's eyes on him, rather than the four women doing cool stunts.

Still, it's impressive stuff, using circus skills to explore 2019 gender politics.

Assembly George Square Gardens, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 3.15pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13).


  • 4 stars

Casus Circus and Cluster Arts Casus Circus bring you their biggest show yet! An enthralling ballet of acrobatics from the team that brought you Knee Deep, Driftwood and You & I. Through the language of physical theatre the acrobats take us through their own stories – one is crushed by a constant need for control…