The award winning Barely Methodical Troupe return to Edinburgh Fringe with their new production Shift. Set in an ever-shifting space the acrobats try to comprehend the world they now inhabit, testing out the limits of their bodies and the environment around them with a variety of circus skills, acrobatics and dance.
Set to flickering lights and dreamlike music, the acrobats are constantly moving around the stage, their bodies melding with each other in feats of physical dexterity that seem almost impossible. At times the performers are like mannequins being pushed and pulled around by their fellow performers, only to break free and take themselves to their limits.
Designer, Lucy Sierra has created a world of blue, which becomes mesmerising to watch. Just four performers; Louis Gift, Esemtalda Nikolajeff, Elihu Vazquez and Charlie Wheeller bring us this incredible spectacle. Spain’s leading break dancer Elihu Vazquez seems to be quite literally defying the laws of gravity, while Charlie Wheeller on the cyr wheel creates a magical sight that you cannot take your eyes off.
The elasticity of their shifting world plays a big role, and so giant elastic bands see the performers moving with considerable skill around these bands, but Shift also has its comedic moments, and the troupe are always finding a new way to make a pun from the elastic bands. It all adds to the fun and light-hearted nature of the performance, which sees the cast interacting with audience members from the stage.
This is very much an ensemble piece, there are a few brief solo performances but it’s usually not long until the rest of the cast are back on stage to support. It makes Shift, which prefers the more experimental side of circus to big top tricks, feel like a solid team effort. As they perform this unique brand of circus, you will struggle to believe your eyes at some of the amazing feats they pull off.