I’m not too sure what I was watching in All Genius All Idiot, and yet it seems to do exactly what it says it does. Four bizarrely dressed men, behaving in the most peculiar way throwing themselves around the performance space. Santiago Ruiz Albalate, J. Simon Wiborn, Ben Smith and Tom Brand performed about an hour of delightful skills that left me asking: ‘what did I just watch?’ The performance was made up of incredible acrobatic skills, original music played and sung by the cast, and a particularly memorable and unnerving strip tease.
The company, Svalbard, are performing as part of London International Mime Festival this year. The four members met during their time at Stockholm’s University of Dance and Circus, and All Genius, All Idiot is their debut performance.
The performance combines contemporary circus, physical comedy and live music to produce a show you aren’t likely to forget in a hurry. In fact, the best parts of this show took place off the ground.
The show opens with Ruiz Albalate performing the most outstanding pole dancing routine. While the audience seemed to respond to the performance with astounding silence, it was my gasps that broke through the audience whenever Albalate came mere centimetres from the ground.
He is soon followed by a cast mate who appears to be dressed as a moose with a brown fur coat and a hat with horns on (he then adds stilettos, because obviously it wasn’t weird enough).
Between them, they amaze the audience with not only plenty of flips and tricks on the rope and pole, but also using each other as a base to jump on or off. Their core strength is really impressive.
If there was a narrative to this performance then I missed it entirely. A spoken word voice over discusses a variety of social themes, but it seems random rather than being an integral part of the show. As striking as it is watching a man move around the room with just using his friends as a base, at times it does feel like it goes on for a little too long.
The best word to describe the evening would be surreal. However, for me the production on the whole was a tad on the messy side. The title, All Genius All Idiot, suggests some deep, philosophical content but in reality it is simplt four men performing some impressive and entertaining circus tricks.
I would have to agree with website’s description; it is entirely quirky and extremely outrageous… in a nice way of course.
All Genius All Idiot is playing at Jacksons Lane until 8 February. For more information and tickets, see www.jacksonslane.org.uk/all-genius-all-idiot