Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Chapter 150: Postcard from Mars - Plastic Boom

Postcards Festival at Jacksons Lane has begun! The bunting is out, rainbows of flags strung up with pride, and a vintage selection of postcards hang from the ceiling. Here's mine:

The festival opened last night with Water on Mars by Plastic Boom, comprising Americans Tony Pezzo and Wes Peden, and Swede Patrick Elmnert, who live in Stockholm and met while studying at DOCH (Stockholm's University of Dance and Circus). Wowsers! What a way to open festival. Astonishingly beautiful, utterly hilarious, these guys are acrobats, clowns, creators, innovators, mathematicians and magicians. With hundreds of plastic rings, clubs, kitkats, waterbottles and backflips tossed into the mix, I left wondering if there was anything these guys can't juggle?!

I was excited about seeing this show for a number of reasons. First, I had seen the video circulating (see below) and loved the vibe. Secondly the show is co-produced by Gandini Juggling, whose shows are always visionary and exciting. Finally, I was meeting our own juggler for Ssshhh! Onni Toivonen there, who is in the UK for the first time, coming straight from the airport to the theatre. 

When I first heard about Water on Mars I kept referring to it as Life On Mars so it was funny watching it next to fellow Bowie enthusiast Ade, both registering with delight a Bowie t-shirt on stage first. In terms of actual music, an electro beat accompanied the high-octane energy for a concentrated hour. I liked the gold lamé leggings underneath the shorts - gotta have a bit of bling! - and was drawn in like a magpie by the shine, the colour, the plastics and quirk - they had a Mexican piñata hanging from a rope light! There was definitely more than a nod to Japanese pop art in the plastic boom of artificiality and meticulous precision that featured.

After all that, to say "I have never seen like this show before" is a bit lame (without the accént), but trust me Plastic Boom are jaw-dropping exceptional and laugh-out loud funny. The audience, which leapt to its feet in a riotous standing ovation at the end that went on and on, had a number of fellow-jugglers whooping away in admiration, so much so that the bar afterwards felt a bit like an unofficial European Jugglers Convention. Funnily enough Onni, who has just graduated from DOCH, used to live with Wes and Patrick, and down the road from Tony, so it really was home from home for him, a great way to ease into his week here, kinda crazy too! I also chatted to a number of people who are not fans of juggling per se, who had just come for the festival, and were blown away by the show. We all came out reeling in fact, punchdrunk before even tucking into the "Postcards Punch" home-brew served at the bar! And I left thinking I just want to see the show again.

The good news is if you are going to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer you can catch Water on Mars up there in August. It really is a #mustsee: (click here for tickets)

And, of course, catch Onni Toivonen in Ssshhh! on Saturday night (click here for tickets) - see previous post to find out more about all the artists involved.

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