Ockham's Razor: This Time (4 stars)

Ockham's Razor: This Time

credit: Nik Mackey

Testing the limits of body and soul in a multigenerational circus

Usually when a circus performer is called brave, it means they have vaulted to the top of a tower of four people, or trotted blithely across the wheel of death. But here, in St Stephen's Church, 60-year-old aerialist Lee Carter is standing at the edge of the stage, facing us straight on and telling us about what must surely be one of the most heartbreaking moments of her life.

Before this, Ockham Razor's co-artistic director Charlotte Mooney has talked candidly about the very un-sugar-coated world of new motherhood. And we have learned about the illness her partner, co-artistic director Alex Harvey, suffered as a baby, and about the hopes and dreams of 13-year-old Faith Fahy.

Whatever tumbling, swinging, body-flipping, and risking of shoulders and backs by bearing the weight of each other they exhibit, the inner vulnerability each performer opens themselves up to by sharing intimate details of their lives is surely just as daring.

There are continuations of the Ockham's Razor's style in this piece – custom built aerial equipment, the curious play with balance, gravity and rotation, the pensive human Newton's cradles they build from their bodies. But This Time feels genuinely different.

By showing us each performer's body and different strengths, it puts everything they do into context. It posits that all feats are relative and invites us to appreciate that whatever we do to test our own limits is extraordinary.

Harvey and Mooney shine in a whirling, tangling, complex duet; a three-generational double trapeze is hypnotic; and the whole ensemble makes beautiful knotted cradles, supporting each other on a modified cloud swing.

But it's the moment when Carter picks up the densely-muscled Harvey and carries him across her back that is most breathtaking – partly because of what she has told us just beforehand. Brave, thought-provoking and wonderful.

Saint Stephen's Theatre, until 25 Aug (not 13, 20), 3pm, £16.50–£17.50 (£13.50–£15).

This Time

  • 4 stars

Circus theatre company Ockham's Razor stages a show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves, performed by a cast ranging in ages from 13 to 60.

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