Aria: Reprise includes a diverse range of circus acts, all of which centre themselves around music in some way. Aerial cube, net, lyra, silks, trapeze and ropes performances involving feats of balance, strength, and precision take on surreal form in this aesthetically brilliant production. Imagine a violinist rising into the air with extensive skirt fabric giving the illusion of gargantuan height, or a rope routine culminating in a slow-motion drop and rounds of stunned applause. A song is sung in French, with a rose-throwing moment reminiscent of a Sarah Waters novel. Music-and-circus combine like a match made in heaven, or possibly hell, where all the best fire twirlers and contortionists come from.
The show opens to an aerial silks performance accompanied by moody music and the ambiance of distant waves, auditorily encapsulating the feeling of a coastal sunrise. The aerial performance intensifies alongside the music, with a spotlight shining on the glittering violinist by the base of the silks. Shortly thereafter, the stage springs to life with toe tapping beats and agile acrobatics; back bending, arm extending, body contorting and upside-down-walking. One gymnast twists herself into the shape of a music stand, whilst the violinist and vocalist haunt the stage with sound under warm lights and a light haze, perfect for accompanying contemporary contortion and inhuman motion.
Humans hang like spiders in aerial webs, with a death-defying drop leading into neck balance for maximum impact. A visually stunning lyra double-act of impeccable timing epitomises balance, symmetry, and mutual support. Dramatic piano and violin appear to accompany a ballerina en pointe performing isolations with a light-up hoop. The grace and discipline of ballet compliment the playful finesse of hoop and acro routines. Moving through gazelle, mermaid, and candlestick moves - in quick succession, on the trapeze, with a violin in hand - probably isn’t easy, but it is incredibly satisfying to watch from the safety of the stalls. At one point, the violinist eats a ball of fire, and continues to play with her bow aflame.
Pairing contrasting elements is thematically on point for this mix of classical/contemporary, light/dark, high/low, complementary opposites. High culture and avant garde artforms combine beautifully to defy physics and make the impossible possible in this celebration of the amazing things humans and their bodies can do.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a violin being played upside down on a spinning trapeze, this is the show for you.