Review: Circa’s Peepshow – Underbelly Festival ★★★

Peepshow ★★★

By Peter May


From makers of the smash-hit shows Humans, Beyond, Wunderkammer and Closer comes Peepshow, a thrilling new creation that infuses world-class contemporary circus with the nostalgia of bygone eras. Usually associated with pervy old men, this peep show is a completely different scenario however, so expect to see teetering towers of balanced bodies, extreme bending and devilishly precarious aerials.

Seen by over one million people in 39 countries, Circa is at the forefront of contemporary circus, globally pioneering how extreme physicality can create powerful and moving performances.  Playing with the extreme physicality of this troupe of phenomenal acrobats, Circa blur the lines between movement, dance, theatre and circus. Exploring the concept of looking and being looked at, Peepshow uses circus to explore themes of gender and sexuality on the stage. Taking over Underbelly’s spiegeltent with a nightclub vibe, most of Peepshow’s music is an original track written by Ori Lichtik (Batsheeva Dance Company) with an interlude of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics). Peepshow lets audiences see the world from the other side of the mirror.

Jessica Connell opens the show with a tremendous display with hula-hoops while Ela Bartilomo switches from frenzied modern dance to perfectly honed contortionism and David Trappes demonstrates excellent juggling skills. There are plenty of on the edge of your seat moments particularly when the cast form a human pyramid and deliberately fall head first towards the floor only to disband at the last moment. The weaker scenes are when they try to inject some humour into it; they don’t really gel so comes off as feeling like unneeded filler.

If you are after a playful, funny, surreal, and sexy show for your summer, Peepshow is one show worth taking a peek at.

Until 18 August 2018 at Southbank Centre, London