Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Casus are back at the Fringe and I’m told that their impressive, soft and generous style is characteristic of their previous productions. This is an oasis of an afternoon; ‘Driftwood’ is a show that evokes calm whilst also compelling you to the edge of your seat.
The blurb tells you to expect “a circus show that does not let you forget that to feel is to be human” and it delivers. The five Australian-based performers are incredibly accomplished, and they push themselves to the limits of their impressive abilities. Very occasionally they stumble, they even fall, the strain shows on their faces, and it’s wonderful because it reminds you to be in awe of what you are seeing; it reminds you that what they’re doing should be impossible. My friend was holding her breath through most of the production.
When they are all on stage tumbling as a team you don’t know where to look as they sail almost through each other. As individuals they bring character to the piece. The aerial performer (Kali Retallack), childlike, charismatic and electric, was the smoothest, most dramatic and best of her discipline I’ve seen. The duet from two of the boys – men, I mean: couple Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay harnessing a boyish body language filled with curiosity – felt just like brothers playing in the garden…brothers who handstand at breath-holding heights. Natano Fa’anana and Retallack’s dance section was the only element of the production which felt performative rather than dreamlike, lifting us out of the tone of the rest of the piece. The light was an interesting motif which some of the performers made more successful, playful connections with than others – I particularly enjoyed Abbey Church’s stand off with it. Uncomplicated costume contributes to the production’s ethereal simplicity, and I don’t know how they avoided sweat patches on that light grey.
The Spiegeltent, a gorgeous space in and of itself, actually felt too decadent a setting for such a delicate, charming show. But it was full of a mesmerised audience, gasping, laughing with relief and leaping to their feet at the end.