This new show combines live music, theatre and impressive acrobatics
The last time I went to a circus was 10 years ago and I saw a dog riding a horse. A lot changes in a decade and this year, circus is celebrating 250 years of heritage. CircusFest 2018 is therefore bringing a range of shows to London. Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine, by the aptly-named Pirates of the Carabina, is showing at The Roundhouse in London’s Camden.
A “world of mechanical chaos”, the performance is playful, theatrical and boasts a wealth of skills shared between a relatively small cast. The nine performers rotate between playing eight instruments and performing in the show. Meanwhile, a seven-person choir adds a melodic soundtrack to the show.
The performance features a mesmerising spinning carousel from which characters hang, rotate and interact with each other. There’s also plenty of physical comedy which unashamedly ventures into the slapstick. Jacques Tati would certainly have approved.
Combing everything from roller-skating to a percussive typewriter, there are plenty of different elements. Though highly theatrical, beyond a classic struggle between rich and poor, it’s hard to know exactly what story the show is telling. Much of the performance is expressive, suspenseful and - in parts - abstract.
Slow and reflective in places, there’s too much downtime for the show to be considered a technical masterpiece and you certainly won’t see anyone jump from one trapeze to another. But these, perhaps, are merely the limitations of a show which employs a stage as opposed to a ring.
However, unsuited though its name may seem, Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine’s often dreamlike sequences combine perfectly with the brilliant original score which also features vocal performances from the talented cast.
Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine is showing at The Roundhouse in Camden as part of CircusFest 2018. Tickets start from £15 ($21) and performances run until Sunday 15 April.