Edinburgh Fringe 2021
This sci-fi-inspired duet of acrobatics and live music takes you on a cinematic journey of ultra-physical circus. O’DD is an adventure story of humanity in the guts of gravity. It plays with the laws of physics until they bend and break. Unknown threats collide with acrobatics beyond imagination. O’DD is a bold continuum to Race Horse Company’s shows like Petit Mal and Edinburgh Fringe 2019 favourite Super Sunday.
We watch a barefoot musician enter a dark space with a circular rug, and control board for sound. He strikes a metal bar that resonates and is amplified, and then another and within a minute he has silently shown us how he makes the accompanying sounds for the performance- we go to darkness and lights come up on now on a naked man approaching us from a distance – who leans out at a perilous angle and breaks the plastic film holding him upright. And with this birth motif we begin the hypnotic exploration of man and objects and gravity that is OD’D.
There is butoh-like writhing in the early moments of man and ground, which develops quickly into a steady development of physical control with a giant ball, with a spinning disc, with a giant trampoline, and with suspended parachute silk. Rauli Dahlberg is an athlete of invention, and the sequential development of gliding, rolling, springing, flipping, balancing and soaring unfolds naturally- time is taken to present and discover each new object, and time is taken to support each discovery with reveals of light and builds of electronic sound. This is truly a theatrical and mesmerizing evening; we are watching a talented acrobat in perfect harmony with his balance and weight as he explores a universe of simple objects.
One of my favorite moments: a cling wrapped body with arms tethered, bounces on a trampoline using available surfaces of head and feet to propel himself in a continuum of motion. We rejoice along with the music as the cling wrap peels off, and the body twists and he extends liberated legs and arms mid-air. He bounces higher and higher in complete freedom until he disappears into the sky. Blackout. Lights up and we are back adjusting soundscape with the musician. Blackout. Lights up and the body falls from the sky (and bounces on a new surface). The play on time and causality is great fun, and the daring makes for an adrenalin rush. We gasp.
At the end of this beautifully woven tour de force, there is a blackout. Lights come up on the musician and performer who take a silent bow. No applause, no music, just acknowledgment that the show is complete. Watch and be happy- we are somewhere between the Olympics and a theatrical circus- this is an Excellent Show and Exciting work.