Contemporary circus is so physically demanding that it’s usually the preserve of young adults. So it’s a real pleasure to see, not just a 60-year-old performer in Ockham Razor’s latest show, but an exceptionally young performer: Faith Fahy is just 13. Intergenerational circus, as the co-artistic directors note, has historically been the norm and it’s a pleasure to see the artform reinvented in This Time.
Ockham’s Razor is an aerial theatre company who specialise in combining circus and visual theatre, supported to stunning effect in this production with brand new technical equipment. The show is a muse on life, love, responsibility, the lessons you do – or don’t – learn this time around and the temptation to wrap your loved ones in cotton wool. Most of it is delivered several metres off the ground. It’s a perfectly judged topic for an artform fraught with inherent risk.
Unusually for circus, Artistic Directors and performers Alex Harvey and Charlotte Mooney have interspersed this performance with starkly honest monologues, reflecting on the way experiences shape both us and our view of the world. The varying ages of the performers add a fascinating dimension. Aside from the poignancy of a life lived and a life yet to live, the presumed physical frailty of the older performer Lee Carter and the fearlessly exuberant Faith Fahy act as stark reminders of the strength, technical artistry and skill required by the aerial artiste.
Flying aside, this is an exquisitely formed and polished production. The set principally consists of the elegantly lit flying equipment, suspended from the ceiling of beautiful venue St Stephen’s Theatre.
Their regular Musical Director Max Reinhardt has collaborated with composer Chioma Uma and the result is a jaunty but occasionally haunting soundtrack that helps the flight soar. Phil Supple’s lighting design is restrained but tenderly evocative. And Tina Bicât’s costumes look artless but as her programme note assures us, very definitely aren’t.
This is a brave, beautiful and above all, breathtaking production. This Time is a celebration of life and a reminder that sometimes, a bit of cotton wool isn’t a bad thing.