Photo: Bea Cadwaller
Coppélia is the debut production from Feathers of Daedalus, evolved from the company seen in the Fringe last year with their production of Alice and led by Joanna Vymeris. With a cast of seven dancers and circus performers, this was a novel retelling of the Coppelia story using verse, movement, circus skills and film media.
Circus skills predominated although there was more dance at the beginning of the piece; the dancing trio seemed to become less prominent, however, as the piece progressed. Circus performers Tessa Blackman, Josh Frazer, Peter Shirley and Gabbie Cook displayed their skills in hand balancing, Cyr wheel (I wonder how many of those there are in Edinburgh this month), and Chinese pole. Frazer and Blackman, in particular, attempted a wide range of routines and work together, although some in the audience felt that at times they appeared to be struggling with some of the lifts and holds – or maybe that was all part of the performance.
The film sections were intriguing although set too far upstage for most to see, as was the action at some points: a common failing in this venue. The dancers’ costumes were pretty although did not seem well suited to some of the more vigorous routines. In a piece which sets a lot of store by how things look, it was surprising to see some very 21st century tattoos which rather jarred with these costumes but would have been fine in modern dress.
The piece also includes recorded text spoken by poet Sophie Leseberg Smith, although it was sometimes difficult to fully absorb the words as so much was happening on stage; and having other dialogue spoken live led to something of a clash between live and recorded voices. Despite these points, this was an interesting attempt to do something new with the fusion of dance and circus that is often seen at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Photo: Noel Shelley