Three's A Crowd uses the language of circus to explore human relationships (3 stars)

Aerial company All Or Nothing impress with graceful aerials, but the performance concept is limiting

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Three's A Crowd is full of clever tricks and graceful aerials but limited by the concept

This pleasing piece from Edinburgh’s resident aerial company All or Nothing plays clever tricks with the language of circus to explore aspects of human relationships.

The words ‘push’, ‘support’ and ‘hold’ pop up in performer Itxaso Moreno’s opening speech. And during the course of just over an hour, the ensemble do exactly that, both physically and emotionally; pairing off and competing, seducing and mirroring, in the air and on the ground.

Much of the show has been devised around counterweight lines and these are used to lovely effect, no better than when partners are swinging in tandem, weightless as if in water. Other emblems of relationships are made manifest in circus’ defiance of gravity, when the gang bounce Moreno aloft in slow motion while suspended on a wire; a real-time enactment of those mobile phone advert moments that want to capture the strung-out joy of a split-second of memorable friendship.

Devising a piece around a concept, however, does beg for that concept to be worked into each segment, and after a while it seems as if there are limited paths to travel other than ones that have already been trodden. ‘We keep doing this,’ says Moreno. ‘It’s happened before, it’s happening now and it will happen again’.

Patterns are perhaps the point but unless there is some tangible change or development, the risk is run – as is the case here – of not really shifting anywhere between A and B.

That said, the aerials are full of grace, and shine far more brilliantly when abstract choreography takes precedence over the acting out of emotions. Chrissie Ardill’s silver hoop dance is like a girl playing in the moon, while both Danuta Ramos and Freya Jeffs are balletic and fascinating on silks and strings.

Seen at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on Sat 31 Jan as part of manipulate. Touring until Mon 22 Jun 2015.

Three's A Crowd

  • Directed by: Jennifer Paterson
  • Written by: Zoe Venditozzi

All Or Nothing aerial dance theatre present an aerial dance/theatre piece based on the idea of a reunion between friends.

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