The Underbelly Festival 2014: A Simple Space at the Southbank Centre
The venue is an upside down purple cow tent, which could easily be a metaphor for the lighthearted performances of the show A Simple Space. Set in the Southbank Centre in London, a group of seven gymnasts captivate the audience with physical, dramatic, theatrical acts, setting a new generation of circus.
Gravity and Other Myths is the multi award-winning and well-respected Australian acrobatics ensemble: formed in 2009 in Adelaide, they have won Best Emerging Circus/Physical Theatre Performer at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe among others. A Simple Space is the latest of their productions. The show communicates theatre, trust, friendship and banter, produced and run directly by the performers.
The show is an intimate connection between circus and audience that hasn’t existed before. The audience sit close to the stage and the lights are controlled in turn by the acrobats. The first performance is the “trust fall” game: it’s well executed and sets the tone of the playful, dramatic and energetic exercises to come. The more daring performances touch on the artists’ wild sides, with themes of weightlessness, strength and endurance. The acrobats turn into human skipping ropes, stacking themselves into towers and winding their bodies into bone-bending counter-balanced shapes and structures. Always connecting with the audience, the intervals are filled with icebreakers where the seven, always smiling, push each other’s physical limits with competitive activities.
The music is played by Elliot Zoerner, who impresses with his drums and electronic set skills, playing mostly rhythmic music with contemporary influences. During the performance we never really touch on a deep level of intellect, yet this is a collective journey through the creative mind of seven talented individuals, full of drama and theatrical energy, allowing one to submerge oneself in a delightful and breathtaking state.
A Simple Space is on at the Southbank Centre as part of The Udderbelly Festival until 6th July 2014 before heading to Edinburgh for the whole of August, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a short clip of the performance here: