Race Horse Company opens CircusFest 2016 with Super Sunday, a show that is ridiculous and playful while remaining touching in its reverence to circus history. This young Finnish company was founded in 2008 on the premise of creating ‘a completely new kind of contemporary circus’ and they achieve this, somehow, by going back to its roots.
The central inspiration for Super Sunday is an old school amusement park, which provides a strong dose of nostalgia and plenty of toys. The company, sporting their fair share of man-buns and ripped clothes, feel distinctly cool on the one hand, and like classic circus carneys on the other – it all depends where you place them, and in the Roundhouse at CircusFest they manage brilliantly to incarnate both worlds simultaneously.
The current company, featuring Mikko Karhu, Rauli Kosonen, Kalle Lehto, Odilon Pindat, Mikko Rinnevuori, and Petri Tuominen, succeed admirably right out of the gate, putting their idiosyncratic humour front and center. We get to know the individual personalities of the guys as they each move and play in their own distinct style. Traces of capoeira, clown, breakdancing, yoga, parkour, martial arts, and even twerking find their way into the show (don’t blink or you’ll miss the twerking). But instead of belonging to particular acts, the styles and inspirations seep in throughout the roughly 70-minute show in various incarnations.
From the strong man and the carousel to the old rides and busted costumes, the classic days of circus past are on display with a vintage feel. Ample time is dedicated to working traditional circus techniques on teeterboard, trampoline, Russian bar, and the classic (and daunting) Wheel of Death, and they manage to make the old feel new, and even a little bit funky, with a raw joy and collaborative spirit that breaks away from the stoic appearance of traditional circus acrobatics. In between these staples, they experiment with exercise balls, nunchucks, and a race car in an act that might leave the most lasting impression of the night.
Super Sunday delivers all the laughs, amazement, and revealing costumes you could ask for, and is a striking opening of what promises to be a landmark London festival. Check your programmes and get out to see everything CircusFest 2016 has in store!