Ockham’s Razor are an aerial theatre company focused on storytelling through a combination of circus skills and visual theatre. “Tipping Point” is their fourth production with Turtle Keys Arts with whom they have been collaborating since 2006, and what a moving, provocative work it is. Emerging from an exploration of circles, the performers take us on a journey full of emotion; the vulnerability of relationships shown through a selection of extraordinary contrasting set pieces.
The performance takes place with the audience on three sides, the front row extremely close to the action. This proximity encourages an instant engagement with the piece, inclusion mixed with a sense of risk; most exciting. The performers begin with the suggestion of ritual, drawing a circle around the stage within which their story takes place. There is the implication of the pagan circle of salt here, marking out a safe place and protecting themselves from the outside. It's a perfect way to set an atmosphere and instantly adds a sense of wonderment to proceedings. This is enhanced as the performers begin to create the set, a series of poles, which over the course of the first piece are suspended from the rig, forming the visual structure for their story.
This ensemble is one of the closest I have ever seen. Their sense of play and trust in each other gives every moment a sense of spontaneity, which is rare when witnessing such technical work. Tiny exchanges of glance, a sideways smile and moments of humorous enticing dialogue all combine to establish the characters within the story, and the action itself explores their relationships. The childlike calling of directions through swinging poles to a sequence sliding around and under the poles seemingly ‘play-fighting’, introduces us to the youthful simplicity of human interaction, and over the course of the hour we see more complexity develop. A testosterone fuelled battle for control high above our heads and a duet of co-dependence from two female performers, interspersed with full ensemble pieces with the performers jumping from teasing to supporting their playfellows. Every moment is breathtaking; one moment filled with tension, the next laughing along with their games.
“Tipping Point” is a beautiful experience for the audience. Positioning us ‘ringside’ allows for a really diverse point of view for each moment. We become front row in a ‘Big Top’ one minute, witnesses to a fight the next. All the stories we have been told, we understand. Their circle of trust extends out and amongst us and as the piece concludes, we are left to silently contemplate the impact while the sands of time unravel before our eyes. A deeply moving creation that should not be missed.
“Tipping Point” is playing at C-Scala at 3.00pm until August