A Simple Space is rather like watching up close the kind of amazing acrobatics you see on Britain’s Got Talent, but with all the cheesy ‘I Have a Dream’ nonsense firmly removed, and a great sense of humour left in its place. It feels like the actors have thought “What will be fun?” – and then done exactly that. The show is a mixture of crazy stunts and hilarious games: for instance, who can do the most back flips to rapidly speeding up music? Which is a game I, of course, play ALL the time.
We also got to enjoy a kind of strip poker meets skipping rope challenge (this one is good, and I think needs to be made into a drinking game). There was body drumming, walking on audience members’ hands and one poor soul attempting an upside down Rubik’s Cube solving test – I won’t spoil it and tell you if he succeeded or not.
No matter how many jogs you have been on this week, when watching this show you will feel like the unfit, fat blob of physical worthlessness that let’s be honest, in comparison to these guys, you kind of are. The feats that this rather wonderfully-named acrobatic ensemble Gravity & Other Myths perform caused my friend to frequently shriek profanities into my ear. We gasped, we laughed and I spent most of the hour with my mouth gaping, rather unflatteringly, wide open.
I would never have chosen to go and see an acrobatics show, and when I found out what I was going to be watching I must confess I inwardly sighed. But I could not have been more wrong. A Simple Space is one of the most unexpectedly amazing pieces of theatre I have seen… maybe ever?
It is such a simple idea: put eight people on a stage and watch them do unbelievable things set against a backdrop of cleverly pared down lighting and music design. Many other such acrobatic shows could easily, I’m sure, sag in the middle and soon become repetitive, but it’s the personalities in Gravity & Other Myths that hold it together.
Despite not using any words or even noises, apart from the odd aside or grunt, these eight people jumping around on a stage manage to give a greater lesson about how to create character relationships and camaraderie then a hundred plays I can think of. You feel like you know a little bit about every one of them. It’s a little like Cirque du Soleil meets The History Boys, but in a really good way.
The hour flies by and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. With tickets starting at £15, A Simple Space is so worth a watch. My favourite part, to sum it all up, essentially consists of a group of really good-looking guys throwing some really good-looking girls around the stage – set to jaunty music. It’s brilliant.
A Simple Space is playing at Udderbelly Festival, Southbank until 6 July. For more information and tickets, see the Southbank Centre website.