Where: The Factory, Garden of Unearthly Delights
When: Friday 21 February – Sunday 1 March
If life was a rehearsal mine would be beyond average compared to this.
L.I.A.R. is a dreamy, whimsical and moving performance. From infancy to adulthood, with minimal dialogue, life milestones are explored through storytelling by circus performance. Birth, early romance, the daily grind of work. Condensed into one hour, the highlights and pitfalls of living become glaringly obvious.
If I listed the styles of performance that were included in L.I.A.R. you would scoff at me. Remi Martin, Mandi Orozco, Tom Ball and musician Tarran the Tailor have too many skills to count. However somehow this troupe stitched them together seamlessly. From aerial acrobatics to skateboarding, silks to hula hoop, and accordion to musical private parts. Each of these worked hard to match the mood of the moment.
Although not outright hilarious L.I.A.R. expertly rises and falls in comedic rhythm. Life is not all classy moments as this performance embraces. The lead Martin is childishly charming, writhing around in his underwear or slow dancing with a blow-up doll. Complementing the silly is moments of powerful imagery. The props and lighting are simple but what they do with some pieces of paper and a sheet of plastic was purely magical, reminiscent of a dream. I was impressed at how they utilised the space above the audience to draw us further in.
Where I thought there was tension in this performance was the fine line to ensure that their skills do not consume the strange narrative they are weaving about life. There were moments where this show could have been just another talent show piece, ungrounded with trick after trick. The music was integral in pulling the talent back into the wider story and atmosphere of passing through life’s stages.
Strangely, this is perhaps the only show with pole dancing that results in clothes being put on not off. Although in danger of being a mish-mash of too many things, it pulls together into an engaging performance of complementing acts and tones mimicking the reality of life. Take anyone who used to be young or is about to be old, just get in quick before tickets sell out.
4 out of 5 stars
— Claudia von der Borch