BWW Review: BECOMING SHADES, VAULT Festival
If I were to think of hell, I could see it resembling something similar to the Vaults. The damp walls, cold mist and consistent rumbling are what I imagine the underworld would feel like. Currently, there is an atmospheric circus residing within the tunnels.
Reimagining an Ancient-Greek myth, Chivaree Circus bring the story of Persephone to life. Upon entering the space you're given a blank facemask to wear. Happily complying you are led by the Furies, who resemble dog-like creatures. They herd you to the correct waiting spot, where you are then treated to a stunning selection of aerial performances.
It's hard not to be impressed by the performers skill. They vault, twist, but continuously look graceful despite the difficult nature of the piece. Chivaree Circus demonstrate how far the human body can be pushed. There seems to be no limit to its capabilities.
What's great about this show is that the narrative is centred on female strength. Despite being abducted by Hades, Persephone is not a damsel in distress. Instead she's empowered, strong and determined to seek retribution.
It's really exciting to be so close to the action, however at times this way of viewing becomes logistically impractical. You are constantly moved back and forth by ushers (who are awkwardly half in role/half not bothered), and when time is needed to set up the next trick, there are strange comedy fillers that attempt to retain audience attention.
Unfortunately these aren't funny, and if anything they take away from the tense environment the company have tried so hard to create. It's a shame because when you're in it, you're really submerged; so being taken out of it is rather jarring, and therefore upon leaving, I didn't feel that wowed. I'm not sure it deserves to be a headline show, however it is a promising offering that does entertain.
Becoming Shades at the VAULT Festival until 18 March
Photo credit: Chivaree Circus