SeeSaw_M4_970x90.jpg
Reviews/Circus/Dance/Fringe World Festival

An elegant machine

2 February 2018

Fringe World review: Syncope by Kinetica ·
St Georges Cathedral, 30 January ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Syncope
‘Syncope’ demonstrates the capabilities of the human body as an elegant machine. Photo: Rebecca McMahon

Syncope is an enjoyable mix of contemporary circus and contemporary dance designed specifically to be performed within St George’s Cathedral.

Entering through the main doors of the cathedral, the audience is immediately struck by the incongruous tripod of scaffolding within the ornate Gothic Revival style architecture – a clear indication that a different set of rituals will be observed by Syncope in this religious space. Indeed, this show marks the first time aerial artists have ever performed within the cathedral.

The stars of the show are ten talented artists from professional performance troupe Kinetica, a local circus and performing arts company behind previous Fringe World shows Interplay (2017), Dark Matter (2016) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015). Within Syncope, their aerial stunts are linked by loosely themed acrobatic interludes exploring the relationship between emotions and physiology.

As a whole, Syncope clearly demonstrates the capabilities of the human body as an elegant machine. This is a good reminder for those of us who can barely balance on one leg – let alone do the splits, upside-down in a handstand, while balancing on top of a pile of similarly contorted human bodies.

In one impressive tableau, two performers float and rotate in seemingly zero gravity while each suspended from the scaffolding by a single wrist. Alternately embracing and pushing away from each other, the performers display a touching tenderness and grace while performing this feat of synchronised strength.

Many scenes in Syncope, such as the two artists weaving in and out of a single suspended hoop, prompt the audience to consider both the physical discipline required to make the stunts seem so effortless, and the intimacy involved in rehearsing and perfecting the performances.

The stunning penultimate piece provides an especially symbolic moment within the church; a lone artist writhes up and down his aerial silks with the shadows of his body projecting onto the high walls. In such a unique venue, it would have been great to see the company push such site-specificity a little further.

Unfortunately, there was limited visibility from the back row and a lot of the floor work was lost on those of us furthest from the front. But it was the spectacular aerial tricks that were most anticipated – and those definitely did not disappoint.

‘Syncope’ runs until 3 February 2018.

Top photo: Rebecca McMahon

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

Author —
Jenny Scott

Jenny Scott received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from the University of Western Australia, and has spent the past ten years working and volunteering in the arts sector on Whadjuk Noongar boodja. She has fond memories of the dangerous thrill of the playground roundabout.

Past Articles

  • A 20 year wait for a queer take

    Focusing on the perspectives of queer West Australian artists, this year’s ‘HERE&NOW’ exhibition at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery is both stylish and thought-provoking says Jenny Scott.

  • An exuberant return

    As Djuki Mala returned to tour WA this month we are re-posting Jenny Scott’s review of their 2018 performance at Fringe World.

Read Next

  • Outcome Unknown. Two people sit at tables in a darkened space. One is plucking at stringed instruments lying flat on the desk and the other in the foreground is adjusting electronic keyboards Electronica surges at Outcome Unknown
    Reviews

    Electronica surges at Outcome Unknown

    1 July 2022

    The Outcome Unknown Festival brings together some of Perth’s leading players in experimental music, and highlights the strength in the electronica field, writes Jonathan W. Marshall.

    Reading time • 7 minutesMusic
  • Reading time • 6 minutesVisual Art
  • Reading time • 5 minutesTheatre

Leave a comment

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio