Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@ Summerhall, Edinburgh, until Sat 29 Aug 2015 (times vary)

Ringside, created and directed by Ellie Dubois, stars Cory Johnson as a trapeze artist in a performance unlike any circus you’ve seen before.

Taking place in Summerhall’s Demonstration Room, and lasting only ten minutes, this is a show for an audience of one. Awaiting your performance slot, you are led into an antechamber. The smell of the room—animals, sawdust and hay—gives a visceral reminder of the venue’s past life as a veterinary school. It also has connotations of a time gone-by, of touring big-top circuses and the animals that used to perform in the ring.

On entering the Demonstration Room, you stand behind a sliver of light. Inside the room you can see a trapeze swinging but whoever set it moving is nowhere to be seen. Set slightly outside of the main space, you feel like a voyeur peeking inside. A noise behind you alerts you to the fact that someone is approaching. A girl comes and stands beside you; she takes your hand and smiles. It’s then you realise you are not a voyeur, but that you are waiting in the wings, ready to take to the stage with her.

The show is intensely private, and at times you feel as much a part of the performance as the girl on the trapeze in front of you. The room is absolutely silent except for the dripping of taps and the breathing of the performer. It’s far away from the ringside glamour you might expect from a circus performance and this means you concentrate so much more on the strength, grace and presence of this girl on the trapeze. It’s an intense, personal performance full of beautiful imagery and thought-provoking moments, causing you to question the relationship between audience and performer, and to focus on the strength and physicality of the female form.