Circa: Closer at Udderbelly
Nestled next to the decidedly more severe Southbank Centre, the Udderbelly’s iconic purple cow has returned to London for a 2016 season that is packed with everything from science shows to musical comedy. This year Australian contemporary circus outfit Circa are also returning to the Southbank with their newest show, Closer. Formed in 2004, Circa have consistently awed and stunned audiences with their blend of circus physicality and contemporary dance and, in this regard, Closer doesn’t fail to impress. It’s a tightly choreographed tour de force of acrobatic feats and affecting intensity that barely misses a step.
At first glance, the compact rectangular stage that constitutes the Udderbelly’s performance space doesn’t lend itself to circus; it’s too tight and too narrow for shows that normally see performers sailing through the air or vaulting across open spaces. Director Yaron Lifschitz has worked wonders here, though, and Closer makes excellent use of both the space and a spartan array of circus equipment to deliver a deeply intimate show. Indeed, despite the sheer athleticism on display here, almost all of Closer’s various acts evoke sentiments of love, friendship and family. It’s yet another juxtaposition to be found in the show: of strength and tenderness alongside the sweeping acrobatics that happen within the Udderbelly’s confines.
Irrespective of meaning and symbology however, Closer is first and foremost a circus act, which will live or die on the technical proficiency of its performers. Thankfully, for both Circa and audiences, Closer excels. Throughout the act a quintet of artists continually amaze, be it through aerial dance, balancing acts or feats of strength and acrobatic precision, Closer rarely takes its foot off the pedal. Of particular note are two acts, involving a tower of chairs and freestanding gym blocks that will have audiences on the edge of their seats and cheering wholeheartedly for the performers on stage.
By the end, viewers will have run a whole gamut of emotions (humour, awe and suspense to name a handful), which is testament in itself to the skill on display throughout Closer. Combining tight choreography with stunning physicality, this is not to be missed.
Circa: Closer is on at the Udderbelly, Southbank from 7th April until 12th June 2016. Book your tickets here.
Watch a promotional video for Circa: Closer here: