Creators/Directors: Ellie Dubois and Pete Lannon
Reviewer: Scott Matthewman
“Eye contact,” is one of the few spoken elements in Nosedive. Eye contact is especially important in this piece, about growth, trust and intergenerational relationships – and is always greeted by a smile.
Scotland-based contemporary performance company Superfan are the 2019 recipients of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, which celebrates bold, challenging and innovative performance, for their new piece. The hour of cirque-style acrobatics begins the performer JD Broussé lying face down in the centre of the stage, attempting to get up without using arms or legs.
It is visually reminiscent of a baby struggling to take its first steps. As he gets to his feet, he is joined by Nikki Rummer and Michelle Ross, with whom he engages in a series of playful traverses of the space, forward rolls mixing with somersaults and bodyslides along the smooth vinyl of the set.
It’s all amusing and engaging, if lacking a little in finesse – until the trio is joined by fellow performers Albie Gaizely-Gardiner and Lachlan Payne. Both are just 10 years old, and the multi-generation aspect of the company immediately lends a sense of atypical ingenuity. To see circus performers flinging themselves in the air, confident that they will be caught, is one thing; to see a child thrown from one adult to another catches one’s breath in quite a different manner.
After their thrilling entrance, Gaizely-Gardiner and Payne often indulge in mimicry of their adult peers, learning by example. But there is also interaction between the ages, most notably between Broussé and Payne, the former taking the weight of the latter in a series of delicate but powerful acrobatics.
Having the two children stand on the shoulders of the generation that have come before may be a little too on the nose for what Nosedive provides of a narrative arc, but such moments come as brief components of a sequence of acrobatics that is always fun, often daring, and always thrilling.
The hour concludes with an acrobatic pas de deux from the two ten-year-olds, now independent from their older teachers. And as the performers engage in eye contact with their audience as they take their bows, so too they are greeted by smiles in response – for this is a piece at which it is impossible to feel anything else but joy.
Continues until November 16 2019 | Image: Contributed