Juggling is a mystical art, appearing as an effortless flowing stream of floating, flying objects that seem to defy gravity. But this is an illusion, created through the rigorous application of technique, many hours of practice and…science.
In Beta Testing, bloggers and circus artists Circus Geeks (Arron Sparks, Matt Pang and Jon Udry) deftly deconstruct and demystify the art of juggling, while still creating a performance that is both entertaining and informing. The Circus Geeks combine the circus art of juggling with nerdy analysis and witty banter, juggling not only physical objects, but also data, statistics and even lexicography.
Beta Testing’s origins came about from highlights from the Circus Geek’s own blog which contains everything from the statistics of how many hours of practicing it takes to perfect a specific technique to a tongue in cheek take-down of academic post-modern French performance art. Consequently, this show uses a blend of comedy, theatrics and juggling to produce a unique and playful documentary on juggling as both an art form and profession.
The show is certainly an interesting and fast-paced deconstruction of this fundamental circus art. There are some parts which drag on somewhat – a difficult 10-ring passing routine takes several attempts to perfect, and it is unclear whether this is a deliberate attempt at an analysis of practice or something that just hasn’t worked. Overall, though, the combination of juggling, edutainment and high-tech visuals (including a visually stunning sequence of real-time video) makes for a beautifully intriguing display.
Words: Sarah A Stewart
Circus Geeks continues at Udderbelly Festival until June 21st.
Beta Testing. Performed by Circus Geeks. 28 May 2015. Udderbelly, South Bank. £14.00-23.50. udderbelly.co.uk