Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Fauna, the first full length show by Fauna Circus, is an immersive journey into the world of primal behaviour. Performed by a cast of five with backgrounds in leading circus companies such as Gravity & Other Myths, NoFit State Circus, Seven Fingers and Poivre Rose, the show is set to a simple but exquisite live soundtrack performed by percussive guitarist and company member Geordie Little.

As the audience enter the high-ceilinged space of the Assembly Roxy venue, birds call out in greeting. When the performers take to the stage, it is in a flock that moves as one. It’s an effective introduction to the theme of primal behaviour as the cast transform into more animalistic forms. The only dialogue in the piece is a recording that begins to tell us that Fauna is “a place to explore” before it turns into Lynchian-sounding backwards speech. It’s clear that the cast of Fauna don’t need to rely on speech to tell us what Fauna is all about – they’ll show us.

The world of Fauna is brought to life through solo performances and duets. The theme of animalistic courtship is clear in the piece and allows for some very humorous and impressive acrobatic moments. The acrobatic duets between Rhiannon Cave-Walker and Daniel Cave-Walker are beautifully choreographed and almost effortlessly performed. Rhiannon Cave-Walker is particularly adept at managing to pull off a stunning acrobatic feat and then playing to the audience and pretending to be asleep to infuriate her partner. It’s very funny to watch, something else that Fauna does well.

A moment of primal competitiveness between Daniel Cave-Walker and Matt Parquet is another stand out moment as the two wind around one another, mimic movements and try and outdo one another in handstands, flips and acrobatic flairs. It’s reminiscent of both a gorilla fight and also a martial arts display.

The cast of Fauna all have an impressive quality to their movements. They’re performing high level circus disciplines and they also manage to add in an extra ripple of the body or a wiggle of the head that helps to ground this performance in something other than human. They’re athletic, dancerly, strong and somehow animal all at the same time. Fauna is a brilliant contemporary circus piece that draws you in to a different world with impressive physical skills and a beautiful soundtrack. Fauna Circus are an exciting new company to watch.