Cirqulation is advertised as ‘Scotland’s Circus Cabaret Night’; each performance pulling acts together under a particular theme. For tonight’s display, as part of this year’s Manipulate Festival, the theme is ‘Other Worlds’ with its aim being to explore who we are when nobody is watching, when we take the masks that we present to the world off.
And so the audience are first taken to a masquerade ball where Rosella Elphinstone and Sarah Luke perform an aerial hoop duet which, despite having some impressive elements, is at times clumsy and lacking in the panache to elevate it from good to brilliant.
Mike McCallum (Dynamike) is up next and brings some comedy to proceedings as he twists and contorts his body into almost wince-inducing shapes. He interacts with the audience and gets up close and personal with a few of them before helping himself to some of their drinks!
McCallum certainly has a cheeky charm but it is Zoja Dravai in her grandmother get-up just looking for a quiet spot to eat her roll that is arguably the crowd favourite of the night. As she carefully unwraps the clingfilm from her homemade lunch she is hoisted into the air on chains and performs a delightful routine (complete with walking stick) that it is unlikely most grandmothers could perform.
Of course, no circus night would be complete without a juggler so enter Robert Gallacher-Lyall. Performing to music from Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker Suite’, Gallacher-Lyall increases the act by one juggling ball at each turn but it is fair to say it doesn’t always go to plan…
From juggling balls to hoops, Jusztina Hermann (Delighters’ director) performs some mesmerising sleight of hand to create beautiful images with her silvery hoops and finally the audience are entertained with an aerial rope act from Sarah Bebe Holmes. Both performers are masters of their individual skills but, as with many of the performances, it is unclear how they truly link to the nominated theme instead of just being a series of tricks performed in a sequence and meaning added later. The bare setting is not particularly helpful in aiding the performers tell their stories.
Designed as an opportunity to showcase new works from circus acts, it does have a work in progress feel but you would still be hard-pushed not to be impressed by something on offer. With a different line-up for each theme (the next one in March is ‘Future’) you will likely stumble upon something wonderful at every Cirqulation.