Review from: Zoo Playground, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 19th August 2019
Nights at the Circus, the physical theatre production from Spare Tyre inspired by the Angela Carter novel of the same name, is definitely not a show that is going to let you sit back and relax. It stares you squarely in the face and commands your attention. We are invited to an intimate room by three fantastical characters, as they give us insight into their inner conflicts. David Munns guides us through our evening, dressed in a half-suit, half-dress, singing haunting songs and telling the stories of these enigmatic creatures. The pace is slow and sensual and there has clearly been a meticulous attention to detail in their process, from the delicate removal of long silk gloves to the writhing and contorting of bodies.
Ellie Mason cleverly makes the audience uncomfortable whilst also holding them closely in her grasp. She plays a mythical siren consumed with longing and she flits between propositioning us and demanding that we stop looking at her.
The show has been created by some award-winning learning disabled and non-disabled artists and they do a great job of challenging perceptions and exploring subjects that can be seen as taboo. It is evident that accessibility has been considered; on our way in, we are encouraged to experience the sensory book, which has long hair and sequins bursting out of the page. Throughout, our attention is drawn to the rich textures, colours and sounds, providing a depth that immerses us fully and helps us to invest in the characters.
Conceived and directed by Fauve Alice, Nights at the Circus has a unique style, and an ability to provoke and play; this performance is sure to leave your senses tingling.