Dynamo Theatre, The Challenge

Review in Issue 8-1 | Spring 1996

This tale of risk and challenge is set in the playground of adolescence – a world of pranks and dares, an ongoing cycle of provocation and making-up. A gang of four arrive in school uniform, congregating at the base of a monumental slope. Characters and interactions unfold through clowning and acrobatics as they explore the risk and challenge of the slope.

Unlike most UK circus theatre companies, this Canadian company presented a full length show with a continuous and developing theme. Their work did, however, suffer from familiar drawbacks. The clowning and acrobatic components didn’t really integrate but rather alternated from clown-based antics to abstract physicality. The characters were limited, going round in circles, playing pranks and making-up without developing or moving on. The music was somewhat twee, setting a tone of Neverneverland. The daring physicality was at times breathtaking, with moments of poetry, pathos and poignancy, but on the whole they were rare glimpses of the potential this work and company have. There is no doubting the skill, technique and commitment of the cast but clearly the show itself presented a challenge. The dilemma of combining circus arts and theatre continues to be a challenge for many, and for Quebec’s Dynamo this challenge was indeed there for all to see. This brave and fearless attempt showed both the potential and the limitations that both fascinate and frustrate those in circus theatre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1995

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-1
p. 23