Artistic Director: Yaron Lifschitz
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
Within the London Wonderground a delightful mix of circus and cabaret is waiting to be discovered. Produced by the company that gave us Wunderkammer and How Like An Angel, Beyond is a brand new show that draws on some of the best elements of both: intertwining skillful aerial performances with contemporary clowning and burlesque.
The six talented performers move effortlessly from act to act, each getting a chance to showcase their specialism while supporting the others in the troupe in their often breathtaking routines. There was a stark contrast between the disturbing ragdoll-esque aerial work and the lyrical corde lisse routine that followed, and the production made the most of these contradictions and made them part of its surreal quality. The only aspect of the production that does not entirely gel is the animal concept, which definitely has potential but is not fully utilised or integrated into the show overall. While the introduction of the cast in animal costumes is humorous and does suggest another world, this is not followed through and ends up being more of a distraction than a benefit.
In addition to the fabulous – sometimes heart-stopping – acrobatic routines one of the strongest aspects of the show is the characterisation and comedy that is woven into the fabric of Beyond. These are true performers, and the interaction between them and rapport with the audience is what sets it apart from other circus spectaculars. In terms of outstanding ensemble work, the routine with the chinese pole is utterly superb, as the cast create a strong narrative which makes it even more enjoyable to watch. Gerramy Marsden is very funny throughout his balancing act with the audience rooting for him all the way, and Skip Walker-Milne’s Bear routine elicited as many laughs as gasps.
Although all of the performers are wonderfully talented, Rowan Heydon-White seems to be the core of the company in every sense. Unbelievably strong, yet at the same time playful and feminine, her skills run the full gamut from aerial silks to sexy burlesque, integrating character and comedy. One of the highlights of the production is a breathtaking trapeze duet with Paul O’Keeffe, who also impresses throughout, and you will be hard pressed to find a sexier or funnier way to use a tennis racquet! Beyond is a happening, an experience, and definitely one you will not want to miss.