Thursday, 10 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Circa: Humans at the Underbelly Circus Hub

The latest offering from contemporary circus heavyweights Circa, Humans, is a beautifully stripped-back knockout. Created by Yaron Lifchitz, it puts the spotlight on the bodies of ten acrobats as they physically explore what it means to be human. 

As the audience enter the large circus tent at Underbelly’s delightful Circus Hub on the Meadows, the performers also trickle in one by one. They move into the performance space and change into their costumes for the show – a simple affair. This perceptively reminds the audience that these incredible performers are humans, just like us. It is from this that the audience are invited in to the world of the piece. From a thrilling trapeze sequence, to towers of people higher than seems possible, to seeing these performers try to lick their elbows, Humans becomes a love letter to the human body, and the ways our bodies allow us to connect. Lifchitz is not simply captivated by the amazing things these bodies can achieve, but also by their frailties and it is in this marriage that the piece truly succeeds.

The performers are left no where to hide, as props and equipment are largely forgone to make way for something that reaches deeper levels of meaning and insight. Lifchitz has an eye for the theatrical, and the way in which he places equal importance on on the instigation of the movement and the way in which the sequences connect means it reverberates beyond simply eliciting awe – which it still does in buckets. Complimented by an enchanting lighting design and dark glint in the eyes of the performers, the piece achieves something profound, enabling the audience to track threads of meaning throughout. It is less showy than many other circus shows around, and for that reason is all the more fulfilling. 

From the astounding feats of physical ability to the intimate moments of human connection, Humans continues Circa’s reputation for pushing the boundaries of what circus can achieve.

Review by James Andrews 

Rating: ★★★★★
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