Fringe preview: Ockham’s Razor: Arc and Every Action
Storytelling and aerial skills combine in a double bill of contemporary British circus
This article is from 2015.
‘In many ways our work is akin to silent film – a gesture can communicate multitudes,’ says Charlotte Mooney, artistic director of circus company Ockham’s Razor. ‘There is a great deal of theatre that exists naturally within the movement of circus: holding and testing, bonds and struggles. It's very rich territory and lends itself naturally to narrative.’
Narrative connects both the works which the London-based company is presenting at Underbelly’s Circus Hub this Fringe. Arc, their first piece, takes place aboard a giant suspended raft, and explores what happens to relationships when three people are trapped in the same spot. Mooney describes Every Action as a lighter piece in which four people discover a set of scales, leading to status games and one-upmanship.
Ockham’s Razor is among a new wave of British companies re-imagining the big top tradition, using theme and narrative to complement circus skills. But though Mooney compares the two particular pieces in the company’s Fringe show to short stories, she is adamant there is still a strong argument for circus for the sake of entertainment.
‘We often feel uncomfortable with the conversations that springs up around "new" or "contemporary" circus. There is an implication that it has outgrown or moved beyond "traditional" circus – what people mean by traditional varies but I guess it’s often pure skill entertainment – and it's a very reductive way of looking at it.
‘Some people are drawn to the purely choreographic and how it relates to dance, others are drawn to burlesque and how circus relates to control and desire, others still want to make children laugh. We're proud to be part of such a rich artform that can be so many different things and can contain so much.’
Ockham’s Razor: Arc and Every Action, Underbelly’s Circus Hub, 0844 545 8252, 8–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 1.25pm, £14.50--£15.50 (£13.50--£14.50, partial view £9.50--£10.50). Preview 7 Aug, £10 (partial view £5).