Review from: 360 Allstars, by Onyx Productions at Assembly George Square Gardens; 16th August 2019
Elements of Freestyle, by Ish Dance Collective at The Pleasance EICC; 16th August 2019
Both these shows are a great way for circus to be seen as more current than often thought of in popular imagination, involving new kinds of skills and using music effectively for them. Both shows are very different from each other, but it is clear they are both going for the same vibe and audience bracket. They are both also their venue’s ‘big cool circus’ of the year. So, without pitting them against each other, this table looks to inform about each show…
It is worth elaborating on the final point of having all male casts* in both shows. It is hard to think of another large scale circus show that has only men performing. It might give a slightly skewed impression that these dance styles or extreme spots/skills are only championed by men. Whilst not a bad point of each show in themselves, after watching ten other circuses in a week it is definitely something you notice. Maybe to encourage a larger female audience it would be good to have representation of their gender too. Perhaps that’s something the companies are working on.
*Annie Tangberg is the cellist during Elements of Freestyle, however I didn’t count the musicians as circus performers because they don’t enter the main stage and don’t perform tricks. However, she is a fantastic player and worth crediting!