- John Lyndon
- 5 August 2019
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).