Underbelly Festival, London – 18 August 2018
There is no denying that this is a playful and cheeky show that captures the performers’ talents well – but does it all become slightly tired?
In the programme notes, director Yaron Lifschitz describes Circa’s Peepshow being about ‘looking and being seen’ and there is certainly plenty to watch and instances when the performers seem to be making direct eye contact with the audience around them – but as mesmerising as it is to watch, it can begin to feel a little bit tired towards the end.
However, Peepshow does get off to a strong start with Jessica Connell’s mesmerising and perfectly choreographed routine involving hoops and keeping them moving while balancing in different ways and Jarred Dewey’s playful routine on the trapeze, showcasing his amazing flexibility.
But for the most part, Circa’s show is all about the acrobatics, showcasing the strength of all the performers, mixed with contemporary dance that takes them from one act to the next to great effect. There are lots of thrills mixed with sheer disbelief at what you are watching. This includes some moments which sees the performers finishing their incredible twists and spins in the air very close to those sitting in the front row, generating a strong reaction from the audience.
These astonishing acrobatics are matched by the pulsating and energetic mixture of music that complements each act well, adding to the sense of drama, thrill and excitement that builds gradually throughout. But it is the beauty of Jason Organ’s lighting design that shows off the performances to full effect, using shadows as well as soft lighting to highlight the different movements of the performers.
Throughout, the energy levels are consistently high but it feels as though it could use bring out the comical elements a bit more which can be too subtle to make an impact – particularly when it is clear that David Trappes (making his Circa debut) has great comic timing and ability.
There are moments throughout in which not a lot happens and can be considered slow, but when you consider just exactly why this is (given the extraordinary nature of the acts each individual as well as the cast as whole put on) perhaps it just needs time to settle in for it to flow better.
It is cheeky, playful and mesmerising but somehow it is just lacking slightly in charm to make it fully satisfying.