Kelly Apter | WOW247 | Monday 24 August 2015

Close Up

Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: Close Up, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.


We’ve got circus coming out of our ears at the Fringe this year, but Australia’s Circa has long proved itself ahead of the pack. Not just in its performers’ remarkable skill, but in their ability to find new and interesting ways to present it. It is also one of the most egalitarian circus companies around, ­giving ­female performers the same space, time and legwork as their male counterparts.

If Close Up doesn’t quite reach the parts the company’s previous Fringe shows (Wunderkammer and Beyond) did, it’s only because they’ve set their own bar so high.

This is close-up, stripped back circus, without fancy costumes or props, and with fewer people – just four performers – but, oh my, the things they can do. It’s the usual stuff – lifts, balances, acrobatics, aerial work and Chinese pole – just executed in Circa’s inimitable tough but tender style.

It’s also an opportunity to find out how much hard graft and sweat goes into the 60 minutes we spend with them.
“It’s taken me eight years to learn how to do this,” says 20-year-old Lisa Goldsworthy, before her remarkable hula hoop routine.

Performing on the Chinese pole is when he feels most alive, Todd Kilby tells us as he pulls on a pair of trousers and two tops – he needs a lot of layers to stop his skin burning. It’s these tiny insights that make us feel close to the action – that, and our sheer proximity to them.

Kilby may feel alive onstage, but sitting in the front row I was sure I was going to die during their precarious chair-stacking section.

A futile worry with such assured performers. Elsewhere Daniel O’Brien’s hand balances and acrobatics are brave and steady, and Lauren Herley’s aerial rope work is a stunning blend of muscular strength and beauty.

Underbelly George Square (Venue 300) until 31 August

IMAGE CREDITRichard Davenport via WOW247