Unchained sets things up with an enigmatic, eerie setting. A small tent like space in the middle of the stage lifts to the skies, with metal chains and cloth tentacles rolling down to the floor. Oddly reminiscent of a giant jellyfish, the set is accompanied by two dancers, both dressed identically, who proceed to indulge in a tightly choreographed dance amongst the metal chains that hang down from the set. The two dancers entangle with each other, at times blurring the lines of where one performer ends and the other begins
This Twisted Tale is a modern fairytale, a coming-of-age story played out with vim and vigour by two female performers using a whole toolbox of theatrical tricks that includes circus (aerial and pole), puppetry, projection, shadow theatre, verbal storytelling, and dialogue – with feisty physical performances binding it all together…the playground – which is represented very beautifully onstage by an oversized swing, a set of monkey bars, and a lampost that doubles as a ‘Chinese pole’, all ready for the climbing… Enter the ‘tumbling and whirling’ Luce (short for Lucifer, we suspect) – all punk posturing and petulance, a glorious mess of red curls, Cleopatra eyeliner, and black leather boots. She’s the devil incarnate: the new girl in town, or Chloe’s imaginary friend, or her alter-ego – choose your interpretation – a Peter Pan character who stays just where she is whilst Chloe grows and changes, yet is catalyst to those changes through her provocations. This all augmented by the simple but sweet shadow puppet vignettes, played on a little portable booth, and supported by a very lovely soundscape of distorted music-box melodies and toy piano arpeggios composed by Grid Iron associate artist David Paul Jones. It is a charming and poignant piece that tackles the marriage between circus skills and theatrical storytelling with great gusto.
In a mystic marquee of blue air and fairy music, air-light acrobats swing and sway, astonishing the audience with their body control. In a space high above ground that reminds vaguely of a circus tent, a little girl meets the red-haired devil, climbing up lampposts, ropes and swings. Storytelling and movement weave a new world of faraway adventures into the blue air above a playground. The artists show immense skill; it is baffling how they speak with such calm voices while their bodies are under so much tension. Various parts of the story are wonderfully poetic, with some scenes delicate and beautiful…an overwhelming production.
The audience enter into a mystical atmosphere tinted with exciting possibilities, poised dangerously on the edge of something exciting… we are not disappointed.
Stunning visuals with echoes of Tim Burton both in the set and character/ costume design immediately set the show up to be a story which toys with the strange and powerful influence of the imagination on childhood and subsequently adulthood. A fantastic use of perspectives, carry us on a visual journey using aerial skills, shadow puppetry and object theatre to support the narrative. It brought joy to my heart to watch an aerial act woven in almost seamlessly to a story – at last!
A two-hander, the pair of performers tumble through, over and behind their set which is an aerial-acrobatic realm of possibility: they literally use each other to climb and escalate through their playground of infinite opportunities. Fortunately the visuals and story gel quite well so that neither looks displaced against the other. There are echoes of Alice in Wonderland, but only occasionally. This is a fantastic show; humourus, witty, clever, enchanting and captivating.
A dark acrobatic fairy tale, “LoopsEnd”, swirling and spinning its way through the weekend at The Old Ironworks, is the first must-see event of The Fringe Fest that I witnessed.
A chain and silk aerial show that springs from the Atlanta based Paper Doll Militia troupe, “LoopsEnd” comes off like the love child of Tim Burton and Trent Reznor: Shakespearean faeries run amok in the mind of Oyster Boy. Obsessed with both beauty and pain, the evening mixes high romanticism with steampunk sensibilities and is a natural fit for the space it inhabits.
After an intense opening duet involving two female aerialists reversing roles as a captor and a jailer, a company of five women and one stilt-walking man swing and twist themselves into a series of poses worthy of a compositional painting.
The company works in wonderful syncopation throughout a world of ropes and pulleys. They give focus rather than steal it and, because of this, achieve an artistic triumph where all share in the success.
With romantic industrial underscoring, the troupe’s work causes angels to achieve lift, damsels to flee distress, and night flowers to bloom.
It’s a midwinter night’s dream from which you will not want to awake.
There is always at least one show destined to make a killing at Fringe — one show that ends up a sold-out blockbuster during the festival’s final days — and while it may be too early to say so, LoopsEnd may be that show. How appropriate for a venue called the Ironwork to incorporate iron chains and heavy industrial music within a surprisingly delicate and mesmerizing show.3 LoopsEnd takes risks, using a blend of hard chains with the usual flowing ribbons of cloth, and adding a dark sense of magic to the fairyesque art form. More impressively, the momentum of the show never diminished when the acrobats touched ground. Rather they seemed propelled with story, pushing and recharging themselves against one another, and your eye always dances with the characters. If one person stops, another quickly jumps in, all the choreography so perfectly effortless that every sleight of hand is overlooked, unless you happen to have unnaturally good peripheral vision.
Details are everything, and from the flow of moment to the stark white, black, and red of both costumes and prop, Paper Doll Militia’s LoopsEnd came to Fringe ready to impress. And it did. See Full Black and Gold Review Article Here
Unhinged, a favorite of the Dance Canvas audience at the 14th Street Playhouse Friday night, featured two choreographer-performers who spent more time in the air than on the ground. Using two white aerial silks, Rain Anya and Sarah Bebe Holmes of Paper Doll Militia climbed, curled, stretched, balanced and hung with precision, daring and theatrical flair. It was a highlight in a program of nine works, each vastly different in style, genre and accomplishment. See Full Arts Atlanta Article Here
Dramatic technical skills were certainly on display in Friday night’s performance in the aerial duet“Unhinged”, one of the night’s standout pieces. As choreographing and performing duo Paper Doll Militia twisted themselves through a swath of silky white fabric, audible gasps and murmurs rippled through the theater. But unlike many aerial performers, collaborators Rain Anya and Sarah Bebe Holmes didn’t just use the silk as a tool to move from one acrobatic pose to another. The dancers, clad in bizarrely tattered, Miley Cyrus-esque costumes, constantly moved through and with the fabric; they used it to alternately hide and reveal their contorted forms, like three otherworldly creatures playing in a secret kingdom.
The innovative piece was a precise example Dance Canvas’s multiple missions: to unite original young choreographers with a receptive public, to expose new audience members to technically impressive and stimulating dance materials, and to develop a distinct dance community that nurtures and provides opportunities for emerging members. See Full Creative Loafing Article Here
Paper Doll Militia, performing Unhinged adds up to more than slick tricks on the white silks dangling from on high. They themselves look like raggedy paper-white dollies, while the silks are made to billow like sails, knot into cats-cradles or stretch out, like a sheer mountain face that’s scaled in a scamper without crampons. All over in 10 minutes – but what a giddy delight those minutes of brinkmanship and artistry were. See Full Herald Article Here
The old adage that everything comes to those who wait could not have held more truth than this evening with the breath-taking finale from America’s Paper Doll Militia with the title Unhinged that had been set to inspire the Scrapyard pieces.
The two acrobats have an other-worldly air in their feathered cap, wounded bird –like headgear and white costumes like sections of old Liberty bodice. To anticipating ticks and heartbeats, they bind and entwine themselves through the draped white cloth that serves as swing, harness, rope and ladder in an exquisite exhibition of strength and grace. The performance is beautifully bound and entwined in a winding sheet of life. Well worth the wait to see this sophisticated circus of now. See Full Edinburgh Guide Article Here
Spinning and hooking their way through reams of white cloth, the female duo exhibit immense technical prowess and strength in what is a mesmerising ten-minute demonstration of visual theatre. See Full TV Bomb Article Here
One coolly lit white silk, an oppressive soundtrack and two manic sylph siblings: the simplest of ingredients converge here to convey an icy mystical hinterland in this gem of aerial theatre. It’s like the narcissus myth turned askew; the conundrum is whether to fight, play or embrace when the mirroring partner can’t quite be trusted.
The silks become both the protagonists’ playground and battlefield, and are used with lively and inventive panache. Stock aerial moves have their place, but the characterisation that saturates the movement drives the compelling performance. These sprightly nymphs are cheeky, strong and not quite of this world. If they decide to inelegantly clamber up the widely spread material, they inspire awe at the gleeful fun they have with scant resources.
They are unhinged, after all.
Interplay during airborne doubles sequences is deft and inhumanly precise, with a shock drop for that thrilling ‘gasp’ moment. And some stock moves achieve an unearthly beauty: for example, when during a neck hang the silks’ tail is artfully placed to the side by the duet partner, who meanwhile adopts a mirrored standing back-bend. These added touches compound the serene elegance of the draped shapes created. See Full Manipulate Blog Article Here
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