Music: Sxip Shirey
Director: Scott Maidment
Reviewer: Jessica Gray
Limbo is a heady experience that captivates its audience from the very beginning and catapults them in to a dark, dangerous and sexy new world of live performance. The show is currently in its second season at the Southbank’s Wonderground following a celebrated run last summer at the same venue.
Director Scott Maidment and composer Sxip Shirey have created here a show with incredible individuality and power. From the very beginning the nefarious tone is set with an opening performance that makes the audience feel almost uncomfortable, and while the show moves on to become lighter there is always an odd juxtaposition between the smiling faces of the performers and the sinister feeling of the piece as a whole.
Although there is no storyline the show’s title is clearly Limbo for a reason; it feels almost that these acrobats, contortionists, fire eaters and other performers are in fact trapped on the edge of hell and chosen to perform for the ringmaster. Each performer is at the top of their game and their talent is obvious, performing jaw dropping stunts effortlessly and earning relentless cheers and gasps from the audience.
The music from Shirey is an odd and somewhat disconcerting mix of brass band, gypsy and electro with a bit of everything else in between. It’s certainly not something you’ll hear in any other show in town and its unfamiliarity adds greatly to that ominous feeling of the entire piece. As the show moves from a fun tap dance performance to an elevated hand balancing act Shirey and the musicians provide musical numbers to keep the audience entertained.
While the show is undeniably outstanding the reviewer does feel that the theme of the piece could be played to even more so than it currently is. Carrying a narrative through the entire show could help make the transitions between acts more attention-grabbing and make the piece as a whole more though-provoking.
Overall Limbo is not one to be forgotten in a hurry (particularly if you sit in the front row and at some point, unnecessarily, fear for your own safety). It is scorching hot – the most grown up, trendy circus performance you’ll find in London this summer.
Runs until 17th August 2014.