Limb(e)s (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Chris Goff

Dark, quietly riveting gem of aerial drama

A bare stage and stark lighting are just about all the theatrical elements Gabrielle Martin and Jeremiah Hughes need to create this quietly riveting slice of aerial circus.

The work arose, at least in part, from the pair's desire to satisfy deeper creative urges than they had derived from performing in Cirque du Soleil. Fair warning: this slow-burn show makes no concessions to populist impulses.

The visual focus is a cluster of looping black ropes of varying lengths, suspended above the centre of the stage. Either together or alone, Martin and Hughes hoist themselves up into this device, curving round or climbing upon each other with a precision that can be taut or tender. Their suggested relationship – of desperate struggle and disappointment, occasionally relieved by a cradling solace – follows a thinly elliptical, ambiguous narrative path.

It's all set to a tinglingly evocative soundscape of ticks, hisses and booms. This extraordinarily prehensile duo's shared sense of concentration is admirable, as is their appreciation of stillness. Spoiler alert: there's a lovely moment when Hughes lies on the floor with Martin above him, slowly revolving her via her bare feet. Limb(e)s may be newish and is still, so to speak, finding its feet, but it has pockets of uncommonly mysterious beauty.

Assembly Roxy, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 9.25pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14).


  • 4 stars

Ci Co Aerial dance that offers the darkest hour, and questions what it means to carry or let go of another. Two bodies suspended in the limbo of loss, cradled in the surrogate limbs of rope and the temporary solace of flesh, weighed by conscience, spun by dependency, freed by mortality. This new show by Gabrielle Martin…