A Simple Space**** (Udderbelly Festival, Southbank)

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Theatre

clp 0260 So the old cow that grazes in Bristo Square, Edinburgh every August has made her way down South again for the Spring and early Summer! She still hasn’t found a way to stop noise from the surrounding bars creeping through her thin skin during performances, but, otherwise, a big welcome to her and to the Edinburgh-style programming of short and varied entertainments. A Simple Space is an hour-long acrobatic display created by the Australian ensemble Gravity and Other Myths. Simple? For the watching audience yes, but for the performers far from it. Showing strength, agility, balance and sheer guts, the seven acrobats (six men, one woman) fall, rise, leap, gambol, somersault, spin and contort themselves, hardly stopping to regain their breath for the show’s duration. They pile on top of each other to form columns, pyramids, squares, arches or just piles and a very competitive game of Strip Skipping could well set a new trend. The loser, who also serves as a musician, later goes on to use his own body as a percussion instrument. All this could have been fairly monotonous without dashes of humour, but there are generous helpings of it, all without a single word being spoken – these guys (and gal) know how work an audience and build up tension without resorting to speeches. The result is a show which flows seamlessly and never outstays its welcome. The show runs until 24 May, so a good idea might be to pop into see it after work and then grab a beer outside as the sun sets over the Thames, making sure that the next show’s audience hears you. Simply perfect!

Performance date: 23 April 2015

Photograph: Chris Herzfeld

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