Backbone 3*** - One4Review
one4review | On 03, Aug 2019
Backbone has an almost childlike quality to it, as if you’ve been left to watch children play, it just happens that these children are highly trained professional circus performers, they tease and slap each other, play immature games that end in someone being hurt (snapping a rope to the stomach) and at times the performance feels like it’s about to say something about social norms and gender, sadly these moments are not given much time to resonate before another game or human pyramid is formed.
Some highlights include a suit of armour, a squabble about which side of the stage they should be starting on and who can hold the rock the longest. It’s fun and often leads to some exhilarating performances showing skill and a ‘bucket’ load of talent.
We open with a sea of bodies scattered across the stage floor which promises to start with something interesting, this is somewhat of a false start and instead we are greeted by the talent getting dressed, undressed, redressed, setting up the stage, props etc, which gives us a small insight into life before the curtain is raised, however, this did feel a touch long and it made me question the 70 minute run time for this overindulgence in audience patience.
What unravels in the show is at points jaw-dropping and mesmerising to repetition for repetition’s sake, sadly. How many backflips, is too many backflips? How many times can the larger one throw the smaller one etc. Watching dirt being poured over someone’s head or slide around the stage is not ‘high-octane’ but other moments move beyond that and truly stunned the audience. I would have been happier to see a 55-minute version that had all the bang with less of the filler. There is no I in team, but there is a solid backbone in this one.
Reviewed by Matthew
Underbelly – McEwan Hall
17.00 to 18.10
Until 26th (not 7th, 12th or 19th)