FRINGE 2013 – Tumble Circus: This is what we do for a living – The Birdcage – 4K


Up a flight of inconspicuous stairs lit with electric candles, down a seemingly endless prison-beige hallway resides The Birdcage, the most beautiful condemned cinema you will ever see.

Radiohead’s Creep fills the cavernous space. Pastel coloured metal folding chairs line the shallow stepped stairs, the shrieking scrapes as they are pulled out and shuffled around echo through the chamber, empty but for an enormous piece of spartan scaffolding, a bright red date-night dress dangling on a coat-hanger high high high up on the very top girder. A day bed covered in pillows sits in the middle of the otherwise empty stage and it seems far too small for something with a name like Tumble Circus for any kind of acrobatic tomfoolery…

The lights go out with a clunk and the dark is so encompassing that it seems solid and you instantly feel lost. Voices, once thick and Gaelic, the second acute and chirping; the stories of a boy from Belfast and a girl from Sweden who meet as teenagers and begin a life together as performers. The swirling mass of ghost voices snaps to the trans-continental couple screaming at each other, yelling at each other and yelling at us. They each tell half a story, two-halves that don’t so much line up like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle as they are crammed together, like odd pieces from the same puzzle, made to fit in that way that love so often does.

Thick dusty rope is scaled, and bodies dangle and twist in the air. People gasp, I gasp; the acrobatics seem so wild and dangerous, their faux-incompetence masking the thousands of hours working together, two bodies as one in perfect harmony. But we see that what cannot always work in harmony is two hearts, so passionate and emotional that they smash into each other in moments of rapture and anger, separate and all at once.

More pop music, The Breeders exploding through the space, the air electric. The pace is jarring, as sadness makes way for comedy, and the audience is literally romanced with roses and stunts. Pillows are thrown at the audience in good-humoured response to colourful audience participation and everyone wants it to just go on and on as is has been. But it must end, like all things.

An emotionally turbulent mess of hearts and bodies, Tumble Circus: This is what we do for a living is fantastic, terrifying, maddening, saddening, joyful, soulful and fucking funny. Go there, up the stairs, down the prison-beige corridor into the condemned cinema and see it, see it and then see it again, and again, and again.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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