LucyLovesCircus

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Highlights from the Edinburgh Fringe - Day 2: Wings In My Heart


Big Sexy Circus City is new to the circus landscape, and if you find the name off-putting, just crop it to Circus City and hope that it will catch on. Located over in Fountainbridge it is worth the trek, host to two big tops, a kids-friendly practice zone, free events, a buskers amphitheatre and circus everywhere.

First up in my double bill of shows there was Rigolo's Wings In My Heart. A show I would have missed but for Kate Kavanagh's persuasive enthusiasm in The Circus Diaries (click here). At two and a half hours long, Wings In My Heart is double the length of time of any other circus show, and would take a big chunk of time (on backless benches) out of a whistestop tour. When I noticed it in the listings, the title standing out on a sea of pink struck me as a bit too sweet and earnest, but that's a bit rich coming from someone who writes under the moniker "Lucy Loves Circus", and then registering the show was Swiss, like my husband, on its first tour ever to the UK, I made a further allowance.

Maybe I had also been a little jaded due to lack of sleep, but spending a wonderful Saturday morning catching up with Edinburgh's Lucy Ribchester totally revived me, as did those brownies from Woods Brownie co. (google them!) served up at the Herald Angel awards (click here) ... stem ginger and cardamon, morello cherries and almond, salted caramel - even writing the words now, my mouth begins to salivate again. Lucy is author of "The Hourglass Factory" (see Chapter 65 and Chapter 68), who reviews circus for the List (www.list.co.uk/articles/lucy-ribchester), and the Fest (www.festmag.co.uk/lucy_ribchester), and had also rated Wings In My Heart (click here).

What I found was a show that sparkles like an exquisite Cirque de Soleil gem, but on a more intimate setting. It reads like a letter of love from a parent to their child - words of wisdom written by a quill are magically appear onto the curtains either side, introducing each act - urging them to take flight, and is very much a family show in every sense.  Rigolo is the show name of husband and wife team and the show's creative motors Lena Roth and Maedir Eugster. It means "funny" in French, so I was surprised to learn this was actually a Swiss-German venture. I'm with Lucy Ribchester on not wanting to spoil the spectacular elemental opening to the show, but if you aren't making it to Edinburgh, check out the video at the end. Every act in the show was an articulation of physical poetry - do read all about it in The Circus Diaries (click here, again!) and there was such imagination behind the apparatus, and beauty in the execution, that my heart really did soar.

Marula Eugster performs the Sanddorn balancing act
The music was great too, and the superb drumming caught my pulse. So much so that I made a point of chatting to Julius, the drummer, later. I was interested to hear that his father, Rüdiger Oppermann, was the music director of the score I had so enjoyed, and that he was also the harpist pictured on the billboard. I thought of my own harp at home with a pang, and renewed my resolution to carve out a space for practice once the kids go back to school in September. But I digress. Back to the show, it is Maedir who invented the legendary Sanddorn balancing act (pictured), where balance hangs by a feather, that was an audible breath-taking finale. Elder daughter Lara now performs the act in Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna, while younger daughter Marula performs it here in Wings. Familiar with the video that has circulated as a YouTube sensation (click here), I was unaware of the history. The mystical overtones to Marula's preparation for the act, kneeling, for what seemed like an aeon, under a steady shower of sand like Our Lady of the Desert, I was not surprised to learn that Lara had been schooled in Turkey in the Sufi tradition of the dance of the whirling dervish. The act gave me goosebumps, and was one of the highlights and privileges of the Fringe.



Suren Bozyan, Julius Oppermann, Danial Borak, Jennie Ritchie, Kemal Dempster, Karyna Konchakivska, Marula Eugster


Spoiler alert: only watch this if you can't make the show!
Wings In My Heart 2.30pm and 8pm at Big Sexy Circus City

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