Ockham’s Razor first came to my attention for its exciting collaboration with Oily Cart Theatre Company in 2009. The project, Something in the Air, provided young people with physical disabilities or limited mobility the opportunity to be ‘flown’ into the air with the Ockham’s Razor aerial performers for a unique theatrical experience.

Since beginning its original style of performance creation in 2004, this company of circus-trained performers has steadily gained a reputation as highly physical aerial athletes, who create stunning visual stories using pieces of trapeze and other aerial equipment.

Artsdepot in North Finchley is the venue currently hosting an Ockham’s Razor triple bill. This trio of short pieces each focuses around a different, originally-created piece of equipment designed by the company. The stories and relationships that develop are as a result of the possible interactions with the equipment, playing with balance, vulnerability, technique, strength and shape.

The first of the bill, ARC, is for me, the highlight of the evening. Three characters awake to find themselves stranded in the air on what looks like an oversized oven rack. This thirty-minute extravaganza toys with the relationship between these three apparent strangers with a playful, and at times erotic, twist. Rather than using words to explain plot, ARC’s narrative is described by breath, movements and postures. Watching the characters tiptoe, gambol and leap form point to point is as enjoyable as seeing monkeys play at the zoo. This piece aroused the kinesthetic sense of the spectator, sending tiny sympathetic impulses pulsing through the muscles in response to the beautiful choreography. I believe I speak for the whole audience when I say that hearts nearly leapt out of mouths when one performer loosed a fastening, sending one side of the oven rack jerking sharply downwards and threatening to throw the three down to the ground below. It seems this element of apparent danger and convincing the audience that the performers are dancing with death, is key to Ockham’s Razor’s work.

Following ARC is Memento Mori, a more intimate offering with a dark, sensual undercurrent. Moving at a much slower pace and featuring more stillness and held positions, performers Alex Harvey and Charlotte Mooney work in tandem to create an electrifying onstage chemistry. Although Harvey’s all-in-one nude suit and white powdered make-up left me a little confused, this piece took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster that reflected human romantic relationships. About halfway through this second piece, however, I did start to wonder if there is only so much one can do when playing with the idea of potentially falling to the ground. The repetition started to grate ever so slightly.

Any irritation felt however was completely eradicated by the start of the finale, Every Action… Harvey and Mooney from the previous piece are joined by Tina Koch (also in ARC) and Sandro Spanu. The four enter the stage carrying various sized boxes that they sit on to contemplate the two long lengths of rope suspended from the ceiling in front of them by a pulley system. Dressed in twee costumes and accompanied by jolly and upbeat musicfrom the Penguin Café Orchestra, the characters commence climbing up and down the rope resulting in several situations where one finds themselves stuck in mid air and unable to get down. This was by far the most comical of the three shows and the only one to use vocals. The action was punctuated at cleverly selected moments by “um”, “oh” or “ah!” What struck me during this piece, and indeed the previous two, is that Ockham’s Razor doesn’t feel the need to provide a realistic setting or backdrop to the situations it presents to us. The characters are not transported to a specific place as the work comes very simply from playing with their equipment. There is no necessity for a context to what we see.

This evening of entertainment left me crying out for more. I felt moved, at times exhilarated and mostly just in awe of the skill of the performers on stage. This work is so much more than a piece of dance theatre, or a piece of circus acrobatics because it is at all times theatrical, tantalising the audience with flashes of story, creating and breaking relationships as easily as a hop, skip and a jump. Ockham’s Razor will not disappoint.

For more information on Ockham’s Razor see their website.