Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Blizzard, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

Blizzard, Assembly Hall (Venue 35). Picture: Francis Fontaine
Blizzard, Assembly Hall (Venue 35). Picture: Francis Fontaine
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In an increasingly crowded circus market, Canadian company FLIP Fabrique has always had a unique quality, largely because everything the company does is touched by theatricality: each routine created with thought for the visual impact as well as the thrill.

Blizzard, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh * * * * *

After several trips to the Fringe, Blizzard, to these eyes at least, is FLIP’s finest show to date. Short, comedic passages from the ‘Minister of Cold, Chilly and Brrr’ add little and detract from the mastery at play – but elsewhere, this show is pure circus gold.

As the name suggests, winter is all around on a stage decked out with a huge cube that’s climbed on to and through, a piano capable of digital wizardry, and various platforms pushed and pulled out to perform on.

After the unfolding of a long, padded walkway, a school ‘snow day’ is played out (and who doesn’t remember that rare joy?), with acrobatic flips and turns reminiscent of the gymnastics arena. And, as always with FLIP, the show is closed by an incredibly athletic, and breathtakingly precise, routine on the trampoline.

READ MORE: All the Scotsman critics 5-star reviews from the 2019 Festivals

Bouncing high in the air on to an increasingly narrow surface, the performers are so assured we don’t even worry for them – just catch our breath in wonder. A beautiful male/female aerial routine is given added interest by the rope counterbalance – usually manipulated offstage – here taking the shape of a tug-of-war style line-up of heaving performers.

In front of such strength, the tenderness of a woman balancing her head on her colleagues foot, high above the ground, looks even more special.

Snowballs are juggled and thrown, strong yet graceful hand balances are executed with absolute certainty, and bodies career around the stage like snowflakes, winding around each other in a flurry of acrobatics. People towers are grown from the ground in new ways (never easy, when all troupes are essentially doing the same thing) and the whole thing comes together in a gorgeous, snowy hour of top notch circus.

Until 26 August

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