Friday, 25 January 2019

REVIEW: No Show at the Soho Theatre


If you are a very talented female circus performer where do you get to show case your skills in the way you want? This appears to be the question that Ellie Dubois seeks to answer in this unusual show which features five young female performers. The challenge appear to be that if you strip away the sexist attitudes, musical style, bright colours and flying apparatus of the Big Top and place the action in a fringe style black box how do you create a coherence and unity to the show or are you left with No show at all. The result is a mixed bag with moments of delightful brilliance, sparkling presentation and insight into the performers lives but at other times awkward silences and attempted comedy that falls flat like when they sit and eat donuts.

Cami Toyer is featured on the steel wheel and gives a wonderful demonstration of strength, agility and control as the hoop spins across the stage while Kate McWilliam explains the physical risks of the apparatus. Kate herself is featured in an attempt at the most cart wheels in one minute and her fifty four while impressive falls short of her personal best and the record but leaves her and us breathless.

Fran Hyde and Michelle Ross battle it out in the one legged standing competition when the other three performers topple over. It looked and felt like a genuine competitive demonstration of poise and balance. Fran 's own speciality is performing aerial swings while hanging from a ring in her hair and this is performed with others in a dramatic and fun choreographed movement sequence that is an impressive show highlight. Michele however is unable to perform her trapeze act due to the venue and we are left with an amusing if curious grounded mime.

The fifth performer is Alice Gilmartin who physical strength is tested balancing
on the canes while being mocked and abused by the others. However the comedy in the banter felt strained forced and unfair and under sold her sporting gymnastic abilities. 

This sixty five minute show does provide a show case for their different skills and personalities and some of their routines like the Pistol Packin Mama choreographed tumbling work very well. However the lighting and music choices fail to provide a linking unity to the show and without a narrative thread it has an uneven feel. Nevertheless the No show must go on and many will enjoy all the fun of this No Show. 

Review by Nick Wayne 

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Front Stalls | Price of Ticket: £15
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