Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2015


Aurora Nova presents Cirk La Putyka

Genre: Aerial Theatre, Circus, Clown, Physical Theatre

Venue: The Lafayette, Underbelly Circus Hub


Low Down

Combining dance, acrobatics, and aerial we follow these five impressive performers on an exploration concerning human interaction with dolls, and their malleable and throw away nature.


We, as humans, have different uses for dolls in all stages of our life. At birth and throughout childhood, they become our best friends. As a teenager, we see them adorned in the clothes we want to wear and looking the way we think we should. As an adult, they provide a demonstration tool and a framework, as well as also providing something a little bit raunchier made from PVC. This show takes aims to look at why human beings generate these connections with these imitations of people, and what it means if something has no feeling or purpose once it is put down.

The performers are bounding across the stage even before the audience takes their seats. Award-winning company Cirk La Putyka know how to put on a show, as lights flash around a giant dollhouse structure at the back of the stage, every window filled with trinkets and shadows, each as intriguing as the one before. The energy of the artists is endless, as they run, jump, fall, and climb the spectacular set.

The structure of the show if formed of solos, duets, and group sequences, all executed with unimaginable precision. More than once, a performer landed so close to the edge of the stage, there was an audible gasp from the spectators. The trapeze work was electrifying, the element of risk vs. immeasurable skill that went into it easily the highlight of the show. There were several very good dance pieces, the solo at the beginning an odd way to begin but accomplished with a skilful fervour that flaunted the intelligent choreography. Group pieces were executed with expert precision, with constant surprises laid into striking images and stunning technique by all performers.

The majority of these moments seemed to border on an indulgence of having such capable performers, with some dance pieces becoming monotonous and repetitive, carried solely by physical ability. Nuanced performances influenced by Commedia were lost on the grand Lafayette stage. The title and main subject matter is an exciting prospect, that could have has the audience’s interests more rooted in its heart.  Certainly, the premise is covered extensively through a variety of careful considered reflections on the bonds between us and our controllable counterparts, but the structure of the plot and the clown heavy portrayals followed a confused and dense narrative. Overall, the production has flashes of absolute beauty, edge-of-your-seat skills, and undoubtedly breath-taking imagery, but struggles to achieve a convincing or distinguishable dramaturgy to match the physical fortitude.