Cirqulation (3 stars)

Cirqulation

Manipulate 2020: An anthology of offbeat narratives come together in this innovative circus act

Cirqulation – presented by Scottish circus company Delighters – is a heartfelt, inventive celebration of all things acrobatic, aerial and agile. Bringing together contortion, hoops, juggling and rope work into a unified cabaret, Cirqulation provides a unique, on-the-ground glimpse into the local circus scene.

True to its cabaret roots, each act centres on a seemingly impossible talent, spotlighted by the performers' unique takes on traditional, large-scale circus spectacle. Where Cirqulation best succeeds, however, is in moments of connection, both between performers and their audience. The troupe of seven slide in and out of each other's acts, adding touches of narrative and personality to the physical stunts, while the contortionist and aerial chain acts (by Mike McCallum and Zoja Dravai, respectively) bring charm and levity to the proceedings, building a rapport with the audience that reaps its rewards in the tender intimacy of the final aerial rope performance.

There is nothing in Cirqulation that will amaze or break ground, which makes the occasional hesitations and lack of personality more obvious than they otherwise would be. Yet there is a palpable care and drive for creativity in each act that is characteristic of the best of small-scale circus production, resulting in a show that is an endearing and impressive watch.

Reviewed at Summerhall, Edinburgh.

Manipulate Festival

Puppet Animation Scotland collates a collection of world-class animation, puppetry and related performing arts of all styles and techniques from a range of international artists and companies. The 2020 event features late-night music events, café-cabarets, workshops and more.

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