Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta, Gate Theatre

by Louis Train

Why the Child is Cooking in the Polenta is an odd show, odder even than the name promises. Edith Alibec stars as a young Romanian woman, pre-pubescent in the earliest scenes, who grows up in a traveling circus where her mother hangs from the big top by her hair. The play is based on Aglja Veteranyi’s autobiographical novel of the same name.

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Welcome to the UK, Bunker Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

It seems like the Bunker has been transformed into a small-scale, DIY circus, setting the mood for a playful and uplifting story. Instead, an ensemble of 16 enacts a series of grotesque and infuriating sketches depicting refugees’ and asylum seekers’ experiences navigating the UK’s racist and classist ‘Hostile Environment’.

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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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