Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Two physical theatre shows on one-of-a-kind circus equipment. Ockham’s Razor pride themselves in creating an accessible story, rather than simply portraying the concept of the superhuman performer. In an award-winning double bill, we follow two separate episodes about human interaction using the company’s unique apparatus.
Circus style shows have boomed in popularity in the last decade, Ockham’s Razor being one of the first to fuse the concepts of contemporary physical theatre into traditional circus and aerial skills. Since their formation in 2004, their modified and invented aerial apparatus have added a welcome distinction to the genre. The performances, Arc and Every Action are separated by a short interval to allow for rigging, as both performances take place using two individual structures, as interesting and individual as the last.
The Lafayette stage at Underbelly’s Circus Hub provides welcome shelter as the skies open outside, and a perfect backdrop for the company’s scenic imagery. Shadows bounce off the cavernous white domed walls, and the audience stare transfixed as the performers glide effortlessly around a suspended raft like frame – the unique equipment piece for the first piece, Arc.
Three performers are stranded on the equipment, as though they are the last people on earth. The story that follows is one of companionship, third-wheel jealousy, and forgiveness, all told through the physical connection of the artists and set. The whole piece has a sombre nature, achieved through moments of tragic beauty and sincere drama, which bordered on stagnating. Themed musical accompaniment punctuate moments of the plot without overshadowing the performers’ exceptional physical awareness, both as aerialist and as actors. The talent of the company is unshakeable and unquestionable. Although drawn out at points, Arc’s sentiments and storylines fade in and out with stunning visuals on the incredibly impressive set, which continues to surprise and delight throughout.
After a short break and a quick re-rig, we are presented with a pulley rope system; the device used for the second piece Every Action, and with it; a welcome change of pace. The concept for the performance is again a strong and simple narrative that happens to centre around circus equipment – and to enchanting effect. The quartet absolutely exhausts the potential of this ostensibly simple design, climbing, swinging, and falling masterfully, delighting young and old. Teaming this comical piece with the earlier dramatic tones in Arc is a winning combination, as the breadth of the company’s skills and capabilities both on stage and off is clearly noted through these captivating narratives, with neither piece stepping into contrived territory.
With these two contrasting insights into moments of behaviour and trust (literally), Ockham’s Razor presents us with striking images of suspended human emotion. Moments of utter delight and awe were contained within an uncomplicated narrative that remained relatable and down-to-earth, despite being twenty foot in the air. Matched with some of the most innovative aerial equipment out there, tailored to the company’s distinctive style, a blink and you’ll miss it show that’s guaranteed to grip you.