Never when entering into a theatre space have I been told ‘don’t sit in the front row if you suffer from a nervous disposition’, this is a first, setting the scene for a show that would clearly present risks, simulating stunts and circus skills that are incredulous, Tipping Point does not fail to meet my expectations. Ockham’s Razor produced by Turtle Key Arts presents Tipping Point, in collaboration with London International Mime Festival. In this feast of modern visual theatre, Ockham’s Razor presents a twist to the traditional circus identity, in an attempt to demonstrate a magic, only derived from this sense of performance practice.
Tipping Point, is a mediation on the ritualistic qualities of circus, drawing on Indian influences with the symbolism of circles present throughout. The show begins with a single pole, allowing an introduction to the dominant apparatus used throughout the production. This first pole is used to draw a single circle, aligning the performance space, whilst also creating an arena of action. This impermanent shape is sketched with salt also connoted to be ritualistic in ancient tradition. This circle not only presents a space for the action but a clear delineation between audience and performer, allowing for a sense of protection in an overwhelming bill of stunts and spectacular skill. Tipping Point, has toured extensively, gaining accreditation from several publications. The show demonstrates a fresh eye on the tradition of circus practice, enabling a sense of play between performers, with a belief of keeping the practice alive. Often this performance seems improvised, it cannot be denied that within this performance practice, the show evolves and appears differently every night due to the nature of the action. Within this performance trust is a key notion, with consistent eye contact throughout, the performers seem open and present on stage. With the performers declaring a sense of ‘recycled energy’, the show remains alive and paced perfectly throughout.
Although the technique and physical material is set, Tipping point appears greatly as a playful semi-improvised piece, with a temptation to create new material every night. As the show is still in its early days it is apparent that the theatre element is still being searched for, however the sense of reality within the performance is all encompassing. Both the visual and physical theatre throughout is exciting, accompanied by a score of music that is innovative and fresh. The sense of consistency is evident, with the music engaging a dialogue of metal collision and sound effects that can be denoted to the action being played out.
This production is minimalistic but offers symbolism that’s dripping with inventive quality. The processing of accented movements is perfectly pitched with the playing of tension in a sculptured space heavily highlighted throughout. Furthermore, this production offers natural interaction between a set of five highly talented performers. In the round, characterisation can be questioned, as this performance style is revealing, this sense of theatre can be difficult to ascertain. However, I believe Ockham’s Razor do this sufficiently with a conscious decision to be themselves on stage, as the structure is too revealing to impose a cliche notion of theatricality on stage.
This production is truly unique in concept and identity; it is a production that offers opportunity for traditional circus to be reimagined for a modern and contemporary audience. The sense of play throughout is infectious, including a nervous tension exciting for any audience member. The pendulum nature of the piece symbolised with the poles is creative and stylised reflecting a thought process of effect. I leave the production contemplating how such a traditional performance practice can be reinvented and executed so beautifully. 3.5/5
Review written by Meg Mattravers.
Tipping Point is currently showing at the Platform Theatre until Saturday 23rd January 2016 as part of this year’s London International Mime Festival. For more information on the production, visit here…