xoxo moongirl (3 stars)

Xoxo Moongirl

credit: Daniel Kontz

Comic storytelling and circus skills unpack childhood trauma

A glass of milk teeters on a table edge as Nicole Burgio walks backward in its direction. 'Am I close?' she asks the audience. 'Keep going?'. Soon she will clamber down to look at it, nudge it over the edge, and catch it before it spills.

This precariousness is woven throughout xoxo moongirl. There is a persistent tension as Burgio's account of her father's rage and her mother's retreat into booze and pills is told through acrobatics, aerial dance and comic storytelling, with a multi-instrumental live score by Mel Hsu.

That tension comes not just from the story, but also from the audacity of attempting to explore childhood trauma through such a mishmash of artforms. The glass never quite clatters to the ground, but while Burgio is a vivid, charming storyteller, and a skilled aerialist, xoxo moongirl sometimes suffers from a dissonance between its themes and its largely comedic approach.

It all stays aloft thanks to the moments when Burgio takes flight on silks and trapeze. The closing routine, in which she lives out her escapist fantasy of flying to the moon, before facing up to the realities of adult life, is a glorious tumble through space.

Assembly Checkpoint, until 25 Aug (not 13, 19), 7.50pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14).

xoxo moongirl

  • 3 stars

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre Almanac Dance Circus Theatre blends physical theatre, live music, world-class circus, aerial performance and audience interaction in xoxo moongirl; the hilarious, heart-wrenching and breathtaking story of one woman processing a family life riddled with domestic abuse. Almanac's first ever…

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