Drawing from Jonathan Safran Foer’s dreamy and evocative fiction extract The 6th Borough, the young circus company Collectif and then… has devised a fascinating, inventive and occasionally befuddling show. As its name suggests, Lost Post dwells on communication and isolation as the four performers fuse bold, vigorous choreography with jaw-dropping aerial skills to invoke a loose narrative.
Director Camille Litalien and Choreographer Melissa Ellberger adeptly guide the performers into making full use of the rather confined stage space in the Magic Mirrors tent, the centrepiece of which is the looming cloud swing. Raphael Perrenoud demonstrates adroit and seemingly effortless skills on the Cyr wheel and ground choreography, whilst Francesca Hyde, Stephanie N’Duhirahe and Lucie N’Duhirahe frolick and shine on the double cloud swing.
The amount of thought and passion that has gone into honing their collaborative technique is vividly felt by the audience in a performance which is by turns mischievous and strange, whimsical and humorous, and even nail-biting – at one point Hyde was suspended from the ceiling by no more than her ponytail. The chief strength of this multidisciplinary circus collective lies in its coltishness and barrelling physicality: through deliberate ungainliness and near misses, Lost Post conveys an unpolished and endearing charm that differentiates it from the slickness and predictable elegance of other circus shows.
The dusty, eccentric set design, styling and playfulness is positively reminiscent of Aurelia and Victoria Thierree’s recent and wonderful Murmurs, although the use of more inventive props in Lost Post than the typical suitcase-pile would have been appreciated as the source material provides some tantalising suggestions – children’s toys and yo-yos, for example. Despite being let down, especially at the beginning, by confusing and underdeveloped attempts at exposition, Lost Post delivers a sense of whimsy and fugitive imagination with its unique, bold-stroked choreography that speaks volumes for itself.
To find out more about Collectif and Then… see their website.