Mayfest review: Not Until We Are Lost

jpeg-1Not Until We Are Lost is a beautiful thing. Ockham’s Razor has created a delicate, comtemplative aerial show, which is a hymn to flight and the human body. Performers Alex Harvey, Tina Koch, Charlotte Mooney, Luke Horley and Haike Irina Amelia Stollbrock push themselves to their limits as they soar around Circomedia’s gorgeous space inside an old church.

The piece, which is made up of vignettes exploring what it means to be lost – and found – is at its best when all five of the group scramble and clamber across and above the audience. Having the freedom to wander is lovely; there is none of the fear or irritation that some promenade pieces provoke where you are constantly worrying that you’re missing something. Just look up and you can see the whole thing.

Some of the pieces featuring just two or three performers are less effective, with less exciting choreography that becomes slightly repetitious. However, this is only noticeable because we are so spoiled by the group pieces: when all five performers move together, whether on a frame high above our heads or inside a clear tower, they create something magical. The penultimate piece, where a huge metal frame is turned into a giant swing, has audience and performers alike beaming.

The show is remarkable not only because of the feats of which these five are capable, impressive though they all are, but also because they inject wit and humour into every piece, too. It’s surprisingly funny, and the interactions between the performers are nicely judged – they pull off just the right amount of jokiness and reaction to each other without becoming pantomimic.

The accompanying music, composed by Graham Fitkin and played live by Ruth Wall (harp) and Kate Halsall (piano) is beautiful, too, and provides a satisfying backdrop to the aerial wizardry. There is a small choir interspersed throughout the audience who join in periodically, and their plainsong-esque melodies echo through the church, by turns meancholy and euphoric. You really can’t beat the acoustics at Circomedia.

Without any dialogue, Not Until We Are Lost manages to convey a deep sense of loss, of friendship/kinship, of trust and of joy. Exploring different ways of being lost, conventional narratives about rescue and love are subverted in pleasing ways. The sheer joy that the performers bring to this show is infectious. I defy you not to leave with a smile on your face.

Not Until We Are Lost is at Circomedia in Bristol as part of Mayfest. For more information, visit the Mayfest website.