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REVIEW: Limbo

The circus is in town…


You know everybody’s got that one talent that you can pull out at the pub when pushed – flipping and catching the beer mats, or knowing all the words to any Saturdays song – and it kinda makes you feel OK? Seeing the cast of Limbo completely knocks that out of your body. These people are obscenely talented. Disgustingly talented. Multi-talented. They all sing, dance, contort, cavort – any single one of them would cause your team to win a Christmas game of Charades. Damn them.

Down on South Bank, where Londoners make the most of summer by hanging around a couple of lean-to’s and a beer garden, a wonky circus Wonderground has been put up to showcase some acts that are now probably too big for the Vauxhall Tavern. For once this warped vaudevillian venue is absolutely dead-on-the-money for the 1920s Spiegeltent atmosphere the programme promised. (I had to look up ‘Spiegeltent’ by the way – it’s a Dutch word for a travelling mirrored tent. You live and learn in this job, you really do.) It’s in here that the cast of Limbo will honestly leave you with your mouths open and begging for more – and not just because they’re gorgeous either (most the men perform shirtless and the only way most of us would get a body that smoking hot would to be cremated). Here is the ability to see them and their acts up close, stripping away years of familiarity with almost-similar acts on used for establishing shots on television. Limbo instills a sense of awe and wonder, as well as a casual reminder of that these sort of things are dangerous as hell.

Mikael Bres playfully whizzes up and down a pole, climbing to the top and controlling his fall to stop him caving his own head in at the very last minute, causing repeated horrified gasps and applause moments later. Evelye Allard wraps herself around an aerial hoop with the tightness only previously witnessed when trying to untangle headphone cables that have been in your pocket for a week. Danik Abishev hops between raised poles, not only upside down but using only one hand to support his body weight. Tattooed lady Heather Holliday swallows swords with a rapid and enviable ability (you know what I mean). Hilton Denis dances with an astounding energy, tapping with a ferocity of a pensioner on a Post Office glass divide. Jonathan Nosan is a sublime contortionist, who apparently finessed his ability to bend himself in half after spending a year alone in a cabin in the woods (oh these jokes just write themselves). Special mention to the music by Sxip Shirey, which is constant throughout and ties everything together perfectly.

All these individual acts lead to a finale where all the actors perform together in a manner that words here won’t do justice. Just go and witness it. Be thrilled by seeing these things properly for the first time. Fire-breathing, acrobatics, illusions – yes, you’ve all watched them through the jaded lens of a tv camera. Limbo gives you an unhindered chance to see it up close and exactly how impressive, sexy and sensational these things really are in an absolutely perfect venue. Utterly breathtaking.

5/5

For details and tickets (various prices) visit the website.

Words: Lee Binding
Image: David Solm


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