Source at Artsdepot
“What are they doing?” came the whisper from a young boy to his father while watching Source, a free outdoor performance showcasing circus skills, dance, music and theatre. We were 20 minutes into the hour-long street show, scrutinising six strangely dressed adults and a line of children, clad in blue and white, as they crawled and leapt through a delighted, if bewildered, crowd.
The set dominated the pavement in front of Artsdepot, North Finchley’s award-winning arts centre. It included a sky-high pole, a slack rope, water taps, buckets and an elaborate metal structure that adapted into a tunnel, laboratory and digging machine. Dripping water could be heard as each actor emerged from the tunnel, miming movements of fascination and urgency. Murmurs of a water source reverberated throughout the audience as actors enquired: “Do you know where the source is? Can you point me to the source of pure water?”
We were finally informed, mid-way through the show, that Jose (Arce Lopez Gutierrez), Henry (George Fuller), Vicky (Verity Clayton), Jal (Julia Cheng), Ola (Charlie Folorunsho) and Sake (Cid Shaha) are the descendants of Londoners sent to live underground 158 years earlier. London’s sewage had grown to pollute the River Thames and they were entrusted with a secret mission to find and save the sources of London’s rivers. With the sewage problem escalating yet again, the group is forced to venture above in search of pure water.
How much of this eco message was absorbed by the young audience is questionable, but the crowd delighted at Jose’s attempts to derail the search – featuring an exceptional solo of gravity-defying acrobatics. Hapless Henry braved a nail-biting slack rope to deliver one of the production’s funniest scenes, and synchronised dance routines – including a touch of Bollywood and slow-motion sequences – all raised claps and cheers. A catchy soundtrack moved the plot forward (Take Me to the River; My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It) and despite its confusing and protracted first half, Source emerged as rewarding family fun for all ages.
The show is delivered by Cirque Bijou and Nutkhut, and was commissioned by the Circulate consortium – companies renowned for their inspiring, innovative productions – and Source maintains their standard well. The show will imminently conclude its London tour so hurry to catch the final two performances before our explorers return underground.
Source is touring across London until 5th October 2014, for further information or to book visit here.