Dark Horse, Dive Urgence

Review in Issue 12-3 | Autumn 2000

Performed in a relaxed style by a seven-strong cast of jugglers, acrobats, aerialists and clowns, this first show from Circomedia's newly formed professional touring company, Dark Horse, integrates circus and theatre with the lofty aim of illustrating in dramatic form the rise and fall of the great ideological movements of the last two thousand years. It's a joke of course – at least it ought to be – although the publicity does state that the show is loosely based on historian Eric Hobsbaum's vision of society in the new millennium.

In this instance, the company choose to provide a generalised snapshot of 21st Century living through a series of references to TV commercials, football, consumerism, coffee bars and, it goes without saying, Robbie Williams. It all gets a bit too simplistic when the entire company of seven clamber onto a single trapeze to provide a visual metaphor for the problem of global over-population. As the piece progresses, a sub-text emerges in which each of the performers begin to undermine the collective ensemble by attempting to impress the audience with their own individual skill. This is a handy device to allow for the inclusion of Rod Laver's oral ping-pong ball juggling routine (which has to be the highlight of the show) or for Matilda Leyser to impress on the trapeze. However, the device also, ironically, interrupts the shows theatrical flow, and reveals the fact that, at heart, Dive Urgence is little more than a series of strung together circus tricks. Exactly what it set out to avoid being.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-3
p. 23