We British love a good throwback, and as the audience at Jacksons Lane found themselves singing along to 90’s pop classics such as Peter Andre and the Spice Girls, it was evident that we also enjoy a good singsong too. It is this audience participation and blurring of the lines between stage and crowd, circus arts and storytelling that forms Throwback, a performance of aerial acrobatics, mind boggling feats and juggling, courtesy of rising stars of the circus scene, Silver Lining.
Throwback was commissioned as part of Jacksons Lane’s 40th anniversary celebrations, and marks the return of Silver Lining to the venue after their eponymously titled debut show sold out last year.Jacksons Lane has built up a robust reputation as a hub and nurturer of cutting edge circus acts- supporting 100 circus companies and artists a year through commissioning, producing, mentoring and year round residencies.
Perhaps the ultimate throwback of the night is the stickynotes, where the audience are prompted to write their favourite memories which pepper the otherwise sparse set or often stuck to the cast themselves. Sadly the notes perform no further function than adorning the stage and one almost expects them to feature as part of an improvised performance or something special. Otherwise they are a nice touch, a throwback to simple times where people might leave themselves or others little notes not to forget things. It is a reminder for people to get off their phones once in a while and talk to each other.
The cast certainly make the effort to build up a rapport with the audience, talking to individuals as they file into the theatre. There is a main narrative, which is simply- Boy meets girl, boy splits with girl, boy makes up with girl, all told through acrobatics that reveal fleeting moments of passion, anger, frustration, exhilaration, risk taking, sacrifice and the ups and downs encountered in relationships. The narrative is punctuated by memories divulged by the cast individually before embarking on individual and idiosyncratic performances, showing off their areas of expertise.
The cast of Throwback trained at The National Centre for Circus Arts, forging close friendships, which reveal a company at ease with eachother, able to laugh off any mistakes and indulge in light banter with the audience. Their performances are so intricate, well choreographed and taxing on the body that they imbue Throwback with an energy that fizzes, has warmth, honesty and heart that makes you wonder how acrobatics could be so emotional. Definitely not a guilty pleasure kind of throwback, but one to cherish for time to come. 4/5
Review written by Evan Parker.
Throwback is currently showing at Jacksons Lane Theatre until Saturday 11th June. For more information on the production, visit here…