DramaFringe & FestivalsIrelandReviewTiger Dublin Fringe Festival

TIGER DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: Unsuitable – Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Creator: Tumble Circus

Reviewer: Grace Byrne

This magnificent performance is packed with fun and features spectacular circus acts that leave the audience holding their breath at the possible danger the performers place themselves in. The sheer physicality and strength of the performers leave the audience in awe. The pure beauty of the bodies of the performers show that they are not just “performers” but experts in their skilled craft. Unsuitable begins literally with a bang and this sets a trend for the entire show. The show is packed with explosions throughout as each act builds in energy leading to an explosive climax. This production is an ingenious celebration of the skill of co-creators Ken Fanning and Tina Serger.

The show can be seen as “unsuitable” in itself for a theatre festival as it is presented more as a dance recital with elements of circus. Also, there is very little spoken word nor is there any trajectory of characters or plot. However, the pure charm and elegance of the movement in the bodies tell multiple stories. The five performers Ken Fanning, Tina Serger, Angelique Ross, Hnrk Gard and Jessica Anne are exceptionally skilled in what they do. The ultimate trust and sense of comradery between the performers is heart-warming but makes the slapstick rivalry between them more fun and amusing.

The slapstick comedy and clowning will leave you wiping away tears with laughter yet the splendour of the duo-trapeze, tight rope act and the dance acrobatics are delivered with such precision and trust that there is no need for words. The movements alone create such emotion that the tears are shred for the struggling body without much context behind it. The beauty of the solo trapeze act (Angelique Ross) is that each audience member will feel the intensity and emotion yet all for different reasons.

The soundtrack of the piece was mesmerising and complimented the fast-paced energetic movement. Equally the recordings made the audience aware of pertinent social issues and helped narrate the movement. In particular, the train journey was depicted through various forward and back movements on the tight rope. This effectively transforms the small stage space of the Project Arts Centre into the train station.

Unsuitable is thread -bare Cirque de Soleil but with the accessibility and intimacy of audience interaction. The carnival atmosphere is contagious and it’s impossible to not smile, laugh, cry and become involved in every aspect. This show is certainly a must see of the fringe as it lives up to its name unsuitable as it destroys the form of traditional theatre and traditional circus yet is full of theatricality and still manages to capture the atmosphere of the ‘big top’ in a small minimal stage space.

Runs until 24 September as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival | Image: contributed

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