Black Cat: Bohemia, Underbelly Southbank

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by an anonymous guest critic

Black Cat: Bohemia is a French-style cabaret show combining many exciting acts, including fire eating, aerial choreography and hula-hoop jumping. All of this is interspersed with lots of singing and dancing.

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SHIFT, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Barely Methodical Troupe members Louis Gift, Esmeralda Nikolajeff, Elihu Vazquez and Charlie Wheeller​ are bound together by their reliance on each other to lift, and catch so that very little happens independently. SHIFT plays with balance, direction and suspension by adding an object to the ensemble that has the strength and flexibility to bear weight and change gravitational paths. A giant elastic band acts as a naughty fifth body and limb, changing up the choreography and providing endless opportunities for play and experimentation.

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Tabarnak & Casting Off, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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By Laura Kressly

Circus is a a marvellous showcase of physical skill and the possibilities of the human body, but with this often comes a sexualised view of women and men dominating the form with their strength. Tabarnak certainly focuses on the latter, with the women serving more as support to the acts. Fortunately there’s feminist circus in the form of Casting Off that challenges women’s role in society and the circus.

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Circus Sampler, Somerset House

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by Rebecca JS Nice

The Circus Sampler at Somerset House, two weekends of events focusing on circus with an emphasis on introducing skills to first timers, opens with a demonstration of hula-hoop skills and an opportunity to try it out with the Majorettes. Far From the Norm perform Union Black, a hip-hop battle incorporating two Chinese poles, a tight rope and a cyr wheel, on the first weekend. A lack-lustre exhibition inside Somerset House, under researched and cheaply displayed, gives a snapshot of different circus styles and companies over time. Gandini Juggling Company bring the week of community events and performances to a close with a site responsive choreography, sophisticated in form and silly in performance.

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Elixir, Underbelly Southbank

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Elixir’s programming at Edinburgh Festival 2016 packed out the purple cow and Thomas Gorham, Rowan Thomas and Cal Harris filled the expansive space with charisma and flying bodies. Playing to a much more intimate audience in the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent this year, Australian company Head First Acrobats carefully adapt their relationship with the audience which is bought right up close to a whizzing cyr wheel and regurgitated tonic water.

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