Dance, Physical Theatre & Circus review: Coppélia

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: There comes a time in the creative process when you have to stop adding things.

Assembly George Square (3)


And if the recently formed Feathers of Daedalus is to survive in the increasingly competitive world of contemporary circus, it’s a lesson they need to learn.

Shoehorning a storyline into circus is never easy, as the tricks rarely serve the narrative – and you’re asking performers who have spent years honing their skill to know how to act, too. Add to that the staging, which was never meant for a Spiegeltent space (half the audience has to crane their neck), clunky musical cues and film which pulls the focus from the on-stage action..

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So, how did this adaptation of Coppélia earn its three stars? The circus skills.

Beautiful aerial hoop work by Tessa Blackman in the role of Coppélia, who can also turn her hand to acrobatics (bearing the weight of a shoulder stand while en pointe – impressive); Strong Chinese pole, flips and tumbles, and a delightful rhythmic gymnastics ribbon display.

And although the voice of performance poet Sophie Leseberg Smith hasn’t been incorporated quite as seamlessly as it might, her words are slick and clever.

Feathers of Daedalus Circus has huge potential, but some chopping and tightening needs to happen first.