Theatre review: Limbo, Spiegeltent Edinburgh

Limbo gives a real sense of traditional showmanship. Picture: TSPL
Limbo gives a real sense of traditional showmanship. Picture: TSPL
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DESPITE being slick and professional to the core, there’s something wonderfully rag-tag about Limbo. It’s as if a merry band of players found each other, then jumped into a Victorian circus carriage and headed off to entertain the crowds.

Limbo - Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

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The truth, of course, is much more organised. These multi-talented circus artistes were cherry-picked for their diverse skills, and carefully placed together to ensure variety. Limbo was also specially designed for its venue – a 1920s Spiegeltent – so while some of the equipment used may not have been available 100 years ago, there’s still a real sense of traditional showmanship.

At 75 minutes long, a few early moments feel like self-indulgent padding – but stick with it because Limbo soon hots up. At times you may want to look away (a sword-swallowing routine and the back-bending antics of contortionist Jonathan Nosan can induce a slight queasiness) but most of the time it’s impossible to take your eyes off the ever-changing action.

Each of the nine performers brings his or her particular talent to the table. A group effort, with no weak links, special mention goes to the split-second precision of the “bendy pole” routine, Heather Holliday’s fire-breathing prowess, Mikael Bres’s lightening-quick slides down the Chinese pole, and two illusions which surprise, delight and baffle in equal measure.

All the while, three musicians sing and play their maverick accompaniment to a show that’s off-kilter in all the right ways.