Circa return to London with the European premiere of Peepshow, an exciting fusion of circus and cabaret which seems to turn its audience in to voyeurs, sneaking a look at the performers, who are clearly enjoying knowing they are being watched. It takes this rather dated concept, where men would visit peepshows to peer at women, and expands it, injecting it with a healthy dose of modernity, the Edwardian ruffles worn initially by the cast are in stark contrast to the techno beat of the music.
It does feel like you’re in a seedy nightclub, as the darkness is pierced with ultra-bright spotlights and the beat of the music makes your blood cells vibrate. It’s sexy, and sultry with the cast teasing the audience in various forms. The costumes are removed in favour of more ‘acrobatic-friendly’ attire, it feels like our performers are finally breaking free from some unseen shackles, and the whole experience becomes a forbidden pleasure.
Various acts make up the total performance, and as is traditional with Circa it is the artists and their skills who define the overall piece. There’s seven of them, and while each has a specialist skill which is demonstrated in a solo routine, Peepshow is without a doubt a prime example of an ensemble piece, as they all have a part to play in each other’s performances.
Jessica Connell opens the show with a tremendous display with hula-hoops, it takes you just a moment to realise what extraordinary skill she is actually displaying. The same is true for Jarred Dewey and his startling trapeze work, while Ela Bartilomo switches from frenzied modern dance to perfectly honed contortionism and David Trappes demonstrates excellent juggling skills.
Aside from the seemingly impossible stunts, there are moments of comedy which are far simpler in their delivery, with a tinge of burlesque or music hall creeping in. At points it feels like these put the brakes on the otherwise fast paced show, with it then taking some effort to get back up to speed.
Director, Yaron Lifschitz has taken the talents of each performer and put the firmly in the spotlight, they are exposed, and as an audience we get to revel in the sumptuousness of the overall performance. Despite some slower moments Peepshow makes the seemingly impossible, possible.