Roundhouse and Jackson’s Lane associate company Square Peg premieres its first full-length show as part of the 2012 CircusFest. Rime is a newly conceived circus show performed by acrobats, aerialists, dancers and actors, based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Upon entering the tent, patrons find themselves inside a majestic and realistic reproduction of a ship. Sitting next to their audience, a youthful cast portraying the ship’s crew soon begins to stretch at the centre of the stage, signalling the start of the show. The performers employ contemporary dance to depict with great verve the mechanics of running the ship. This offers skillful acrobat Ali Temple a welcome chance to show off some amazing tumbling skills.
Meanwhile, a three-man tower is erected with effortless precision, seeking the elusive albatross of the poem. As the story unfolds, each crew member gets a chance to demonstrate their skills around the ship: using the mast as a bar, they launch into temple spins, twists and glides. Later, the mast is used by talented balancing artist Rosamond Martin as a tight-rope. Elsewhere, Hazel Lam is pulleyed into the sky where she contributes fluid and graceful moves on the corde lisse.
The show culminates with the shooting of the albatross, resulting in a battle for the immortal souls of the crew, who dance around the stage in couples. They become shadowy enigmatic shapes as Death makes his inexorable journey from person to person, striking them out of this life.
The theme of Coleridge’s famous poem is intriguingly explored in this dynamic, young production, which will tour the UK throughout the summer.
Rime. Performed by Square Peg. Roundhouse, London NW1 8EH. 5-6 April, 19:30. £5. www.roundhouse.org.uk/circusfest