Fringe 2016: Start with a Circle

“A show about nothing, a show about everything.” Having watched a short trailer for this performance, this was all I had known, so as you can imagine I didn’t know what to expect.

To say Start with a Circle was nothing short of surreal is an understatement. Every aspect of the performance, from lighting, the stark set, the music and sound and the performer herself was baffling yet outstanding. We begin by walking into a haze-filled theatre, as if stepping into a dream. As the audience lights dim, the music builds into something frightening. A sole source of light, a sphere hanging from a rope in the centre of the stage, brings life to the room as the performer steps out. The starkness of the black stage combined with the shadows cast from the lone lighting and simple costuming draws the full attention of the audience to the performer’s movement. She first explores the horizontal, experimenting with rope and light, always focusing on the glowing orb. When she seems to have exhausted her options she moves into the vertical, expertly weaving herself among the rope demonstrating incredible strength. She works expertly with this ‘blank canvas’, to give the narrative entirely over to the audience, allowing each person to determine what story is being told. Throughout the performance, I found myself wondering if we were watching the dramatization of a woman’s struggle with depression, a failing relationship, peer pressure or the wonders of motherhood as she wound her way across the stage. The show can speak to everyone differently as it truly is “a show about nothing, a show about everything.”

Rebecca Watkin

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