Sunday, 15 March 2015

Chapter 69: Company New World's "Globally Wanted"

“A theatre is the most important sort of house in the world, because that's where people are shown what they could be if they wanted, and what they'd like to be if they dared to and what they really are.” 
 - Tove Jansson

Billed as "sex, love and violence in black, pink and turquoise" Finnish Company New World (Circus Uusi Mailma) brought their astonishing show Globally Wanted to Jacksons Lane recently. Five fragile creatures in an iron acro-cube exploring boundaries of emotional and physical resilience.  "A black burlesque belch" one Finnish critic observed, picking up on the elements of dark and grotesque comedy. Think Clockwork Orange meets (Visi)Goth Vamp and you get the gist.

As I wandered into the intimate space of the Jacksons Lane auditorium, eyes adjusting to the lighting, I registered the cube structure first, and only after a few moments noticed the performers on top, and gazing fixedly out from the shadows. It caught me unawares. Destabilising. And that's the show - an off-kilter balancing act. I loved the use of the acro-cube, a mass of edges that functioned as Chinese poles and monkey bars that the performers fly around. Delineating space but not limiting it, a construction of borders repeatedly crossed.  There was, for instance, an ingenious use of parkour movements to scale the walls and access doors and fire exits beyond. 

One of the performers, pictured above in pink, moves in bi-mechanical fashion (the only way I can think to describe a cross-dressing manbot) and then turns into a wicked drummer, raising the energy levels through the roof.  Pairings and triangles criss-cross with a look, a longing, a tease of a kiss and then are ripped apart with a slap, limbs becoming bandaged, bodies wrapped around poles or strapped into wheelchairs. It's not pretty. And that's the point. As if to say what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger, the injuries and their supports become a springboard for new tricks. A crutch is unscrewed and fixed into the base of a trapeze swing, the wheel chair swings round the pole, gaining momentum and becomes a fundamental spoke in the circus apparatus.  There are breath-taking moments of physical brilliance, the whole raison d'être of any circus performance, combined with an absurd take on representing the dynamics of relationships in all their cruelty that was very funny. We laughed, we whooped, we shifted in our seats uncomfortably. Globally Wanted now translates into Globally Appreciated. And I'm sure they'll be back ... in some shape or form.

Love hurts. Circus hurts. Embrace it. 

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