‘Casting Off’, by A Good Catch

Review from: Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 19th August 2022

Returning triumphantly to the Edinburgh fringe, after winning a host of awards, Casting Off brings us thought provoking and insightful circus from Australian troupe A Good Catch

An acrobatic trio of Slip, Pearl and Knot begin by paying their respects to the native tribes of the land where their show originates, a meaningful gesture that steps the show off on the right path, letting the audience know this isn’t some flashy show of circus skills they may be used to. This show is aiming to cause conversation and push back against the stereotypes. 

The most important element of the show is the varying ages of the three performers. We get a ‘3 generations’ effect where daughter, mother and grandmother roles are put forth through the characters. A mid 20s age group, an over 35 age group and an over 55 age group. Each defying what is expected, embracing the negative words often thrown at women during these stages of their life and turning them on their head. Sometimes literally. The entire show is sound-tracked by the words spoken by the trio, fast, slow, chanting, rhymes, emotional epiphanies, witty asides to the audience… it’s a form of pure spoken word poetry along side acrobatics. It chatters through words of comfort, disagreements, full blown arguments, until the whole room is swallowed up in the constant barrage of talking from all three simultaneously. A beautiful effect that creates the pacing of the show and helps move it from climax to climax. 

The themes are most certainly a casting off of society’s views, placing value instead on family, connectedness and that special kind of magic between us that is just pure silly fun. 

There are some great connections between the moves and the words spoken on stage. Notable sections include a chair balancing routine involving all three performers scrabbling and clambering amongst each other and the chairs whilst reciting an old nursery rhyme ‘there was an old woman who swallowed a fly’. There’s plenty of emotional moments in the show, with tears from the cast and audience alike. There’s some wonderful life lessons read out in cheesy tea-towel style, a questioning sharing of advice, then contradicting it, and then contradicting the contradictions. The show has some delightfully humourous moments that will certainly speak to many women in the room, as well as mothers/grandmothers. 

Without giving away the thrills of the show, it’s fair to say the acrobatic skills are some of the greatest that a circus show has to offer, every box is ticked when it comes to the big tricks and impressive feats. Three highs… single person double lifts… and everything feels calm and controlled, a true sign of how skilled our trio are, as they take each move with ease. There’s even some duo aerial hanging skills to round off the show. Despite doing in the first 15 minutes what many circuses would have in their whole show, they never run out of tricks or how to make them interesting.  

This is the kind of production where each person can come away with a different thing they think the show is about. Physical talents aside, there’s so much rich content you can have your pick of what speaks to you most. 

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