IT’S a credit to the two performers in Strangebird Zirkus that when they slide down their Chinese pole they evoke neither images of firemen in an emergency nor scantily clad women about to have tenners tucked into their bras. Instead, they scale the tall metal structure with enviable ease, then let gravity pull them back down with surprising grace.
In a show that is very much a mixed bag of hits and misses, it is the Chinese pole work that holds our gaze. That, and a beautiful moment of aerial dance performed inside a large metal ring.
Fusing circus skills and theatrical artistry, Strangebird Zirkus burst onto the scene in 2011 with its debut show, Unchartered Waters. Ornithology lacks the thrill and poignancy of that previous work, but once again proves that this Edinburgh-based company knows how to create an atmosphere.
Upon entering the theatre, the audience is handed a set of headphones with two settings. As the story of two strangers meeting unfolds, we can either listen to a musical soundtrack – creating a kind of silent movie effect – or the running commentary of a naturalist observing their encounter.
Moritz Linkmann and Lucy Deacon work hard to inject mystery and amusement into their burgeoning relationship. The dialogue given to David Attenborough wannabe Patricia Kavanagh, however, is often unnecessarily verbose and alienating.
As a study of human rituals and desires, Ornithology has something to offer, but is marred by one or two disturbing and gratuitous moments they would be well advised to lose.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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