Edinburgh venues tend to cluster around the big central hubs but some of those have now begun to use sites further from the centre, as with Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Morrison Street. Only a 15 minute walk from the centre, this was the ideal venue for a show like Cirkopolis, needing a large stage, good technical facilities and the ability to handle large audiences.
Presented by Cirque Éloize, Cirkopolis takes as its starting point the German expressionist classic Metropolis, with the humdrum reality of office life being the recurring motif. Around this central idea swirl 90 minutes of circus routines of real invention and skill. The use of video projection on the very large screen also adds to the effect and gives the impression of movement in and out of the city.
The large troupe – 12 of them I think although they don’t stand still long enough to be counted – include among their number a couple of engaging performers who warmed up the audience as they were arriving – a good idea in a hall that could otherwise have seemed fairly sterile in view of its usual conference use.
Once the show began, routines followed by individuals or the whole troupe, ranging from Indian club juggling to the Chinese pole and both the Cyr and German wheel. An individual diabolo act took this particular art to a high standard with humour and engagement. In a Fringe which features a wide range of circus performance, Cirkopolis stands out for its scale, ambition and technical achievement: a show not to be missed for all who value new circus.