Dance review: My Land, Assembly Roxy

If you saw Recirquel Company's 2017 Fringe hit, Paris de Nuit you'll know this is a company with skill and talent running through its veins. What you may not know, based on last year's venture, is that the Budapest-based team has the capacity to create circus with a profound beauty.
The company's show is rounded off with a duet between a man and a ladder. Picture: ContributedThe company's show is rounded off with a duet between a man and a ladder. Picture: Contributed
The company's show is rounded off with a duet between a man and a ladder. Picture: Contributed

My Land, Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) *****

Whereas Paris de Nuit was wall-to-wall sex set to a live jazz band, My Land is stripped back, measured and almost ritualistic in its delivery.

It’s also distinctly Eastern/Central European, capturing not just the company’s Hungarian base but the acrobats’ Ukrainian roots.

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The set itself adds much to the wonder. A glass floor illuminated from beneath is covered with sand, with sections gently smoothed away by the performers to reveal shards of penetrating light.

A large reflective sheet moves seemingly independently, bouncing images out to the crowd and carving up the space.

Recirquel’s founder Bence Vági was inspired by Ukrainian myths and folklore when creating the show, and although you’ll struggle to find any kind of narrative here, a sense of place is conjured up by the gorgeous soundtrack of Tatar and Moldovan music.

With all that in place – and stay with them as the slow beginning unfolds – the acrobatics has room to breathe like never before. Recirquel is a resident company at Müpa, Hungary’s leading cultural institute, a far cry from the big top, and with My Land they have embraced their theatrical surroundings.

When twin brothers, Andrii and Mykola Pysiura deliver their muscle-busting acrobatic set, balancing themselves on top of each other in every possible way, you feel an urge to respond with wild applause. But it’s performed with such intensity, it’s clear we should remain silent until the end and meet this show with the whoops and hollers it deserves.

Likewise when Yevheniia Obolonina, the lone female in this seven-strong troupe, climbs on to her contortionist partner Roman Khafizov, your eyes may water at his arched back and vulnerable stomach, but they remain glued to the stage.

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Each act maintains the electric atmosphere and adds to the drama in unexpected ways. Who knew a “juggle- off” (think a breakdance battle but with juggling balls) could be so dramatic yet beautiful at the same time?

And as for the closing duet, between a man and a ladder, prepare yourself for a torrent of strength, bravery and precision.

• Until 26 August, 8:10pm