CircusFest 2014: Silver Lining at the Roundhouse
At first glance the Silver Lining circus company seem a decidedly odd bunch. Describing themselves as “an unlikely group” consisting of “two Christians, a metal head, a male model, a Brixton-bred bad boy, a dance show finalist and a bearded show-tune-obsessed horse lover”, they make a strange spectacle on stage. This, however, is a performance that celebrates differences, incorporating each individual into a feast of unique acrobatics.
The performance encompasses a series of short sketches laced with comedy and panache. The evening commences with some extraordinary balancing skills from Tom Gaskin, who performs the astonishing feat of not only balancing a bowler hat upon an umbrella with his foot, but launching them with a sharp kick to land on a huge cigar clenched between his teeth. Lydia Harper presents some incredible aerial skills as she swings and suspends herself from hung ropes with ease. Niamh O’Reilly demonstrates her astounding endurance by hand balancing and singing, holding intricate handstands while blasting melodies with unrelenting power. Charlie Wheeller expertly tackles the cyr wheel performing adroit spins and flips with poise and precision. Tom Ball takes a comedic turn on the aerial trapeze, his movements cleverly complimenting the accompanying jazz music, while Louis Gift and Beren D’Amico show off their impeccable choreography through flamboyant movements which appear to defy autonomy.
What really makes Silver Lining special is the cast’s amiable camaraderie. They joke and play with each other, bouncing off each other’s remarks and expressions. What’s more, Silver Lining is exceedingly funny, although not in a forced sense. Each of the members are true showman, naturally humouring themselves and the audience, be it Gaskin’s wittily dry interactions with the crowd, Gift and D’Amico’s joking competiveness or Wheeller’s performances as a schmoozing Frenchman and show monkey. Refreshingly, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes; as Gaskin’s impressive block juggling falters upon the last throw, he tries again and again to get it right. We root for him, making it all the more satisfying when he pulls of the trick, and causing the audience to become all the more wiser as to how difficult these circus skills actually are.
Although Silver Lining is not the most professional circus act of the Roundhouse’s CircusFest, it is certainly the most authentic and witty. Brimming with youthful energy and hypnotising artistry, Silver Lining proves slick professionalism has nothing upon raw talent and truly disarming showmanship.
Watch the trailer for Silver Lining here: