Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Limb(e)s, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

Aerial dance is now ubiquitous at the Fringe, with swings and ropes incorporated into most circus shows. Nobody, however, is doing it quite like Ci Co.

Limb(e)s, Assembly Roxy (139)

Limb(e)s, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh * * *

Founded by Canadian duo Gabrielle Martin and Jeremiah Hughes, the company was set up to ‘explore the shadow side of human existence’, and that’s exactly what you get here.

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On a dark, haze-filled stage, they prove that aerial dance and beauty don’t always have to go hand in hand. This is a duet filled with trouble and torment; performed by bodies that look trapped and uncomfortable with life (though not uncomfortable in the air – these are consummate professionals). Dressed in black, and backed by a score that’s sinister and heavy with reverberation, they come together in a tangle of ropes and limbs. As former Cirque du Soleil performers, Martin and Hughes clearly have a sharp set of skills to share. They also know how to create atmosphere.

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But after a while it starts to feel as if Limb(e)s is played entirely on one note. A break in the darkness and intensity, whilst remaining meaningful, would have been welcome.

Until 25 August

Kelly Apter