Over the years, the boys and I have seen so many spectacular circus acts, that it’s getting harder to impress us. Flips? Cool. Contortions? Great. But we’ve seen it before. Then we entered A SIMPLE SPACE.
Now playing at Underbelly Festival, Southbank Centre, A Simple Space is a knockout. From its opening sequences to the swinging finale, it totally blew us away.
The signature production from the aptly named Gravity & Other Myths is a 90-minute wonder of bending, balancing, body-tossing and back-flipping. These acrobats have a competitive streak, battling over everything from holding breaths to handstands. I spent much of the evening with my knuckles in my mouth, hardly daring to look — yet unable to look away.
A Simple Space invites you to leave reality outside… worries, to-do lists, expectations and limitations… and walk, tumble, even fly with these shape-shifters. Suddenly we’re in a magical realm where almost anything seems possible.
The power of this production comes from the combination of a small, intimate setting with the creativity and playfulness of the artists. There’s something uniquely beautiful about stripped back circus, with no bells, whistles (or flying elephants). Just the hushed awe of the crowd, the beats from the live drummer, and 8 performers at the top of their game.
I saw things I can’t explain, let alone describe. Jed kept whipping round to me, a mix of sheer delight and shock on his face. Without giving away too many spoilers, you’ll witness people who can solve puzzles upside down, turn their bodies into percussion, lift three times their body weight and much more.
The gamesmanship is hugely entertaining, as each artist dares the others to go that little bit further. There’s a hint of bare cheek, but it’s all in good fun. Ultimately it’s a family-friendly show that will delight and inspire anyone aged 5 to 105. Swing by the Underbelly this spring and you’ll simply be amazed.
A Simple Space: Babes Review
Jed, age 10
‘An amazing, nail-biting circus show which is great for kids. It’s incredible how people can be so flexible and so strong to do all the amazing stuff they do. What impressed me the most was the skipping, how fast they could jump while swinging so quickly. They were all really cool, I don’t know who my favourites were. Another good point was how it wasn’t just serious acrobatics, it also had lots of jokes. I’d give it 9.5 out of 10!’
Ezra, age 13
‘I thought it was one of the best circus shows I’ve watched. It’s not like one of those ones I’ve seen so many times, it was completely original. I like how they made the most of the small space they had to perform. The acrobats were really good, flying about the stage, and they used human towers a lot. The men were super strong, especially when they were holding two people at once.
I couldn’t believe it when they used one of the acrobats to make a skipping rope! My favourite bit was when the human towers were holding the beam and the acrobats were swinging around it. I’d rate the show 4.5 out of 5… only because there’s always room for improvement!’
A Simple Space is at Underbelly Festival, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube). All ages welcome (brief, partial nudity). Shows at 7.30pm (Tue-Fri), 3pm & 6pm (Sat-Sun); tickets from adult £19/child & concs. £17.50 (until May 5, 2019)