An Adagio Christmas

December 14, 2009 at 2:02 am | Posted in Show Review | 1 Comment
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December 11, 2009 by Show_Hanger

An Adagio Christmas : a Christmas themed circus-theatre production with a wiff of contraversy. Surely a must see; so I went to a performance at Downstage the other night.

I was not sure what to expect, but I came away really pleasd I went. My first impression was of a series of divertissements, but as the performance unfolded, each piece transitioned nicely into the next.

Some impressions. The ballerina on pointe stepping along a line of cans was also a nice tilt to some more traditional circus work. The slapstick chases and fights. The ventriloquist piece with Asalemo Tofete as the puppeteer and Angela Gren as the puppet was a real hoot. Though the fuss in the media about the F-word did detract from it until it got put out. Fortunately, it featured early on. There was live music: the musicians Rosemary Langabeer and William J Henderson, were not accompanists but an integral part of the show. There was even a song number.

A number of pieces particularly struck me: the ballerina channelling the rugby commentary; the trapeze duo; and the tango. Jenny MacArther – in a pink tutu and pointe shoes – went from a soft swan to a rugby goose as the sound track from the TV got louder-and-louder. This was neo-classical-comic ballet ! MacArther managed to hang onto her technique during the frantic goose moments and the final full length dive over the try-line. Rowan Heydon White and Angela Green produced a lyrical pas de deux, in three dimensions, while suspended from the trapeze. It was a wonderful expression of the feelings between a man and a women; even the fact the two of them are women did not detract. White wore ‘mens clothes’. White also combined with Mason West to dance a tango. Once again, the pas de deux was in three dimensions – using the two circus poles at either side of the stage and the space in between.

The show was very physical – both in choregraphy, but also in the themes explored. The show touched on weight issues, physical love, plutonic love, and conflict. It reminded me of the physical and earthy nature of some of Shakespeare’s work – surely Elizabethan England was a rougher place than the quiet refinement of BBC productions.

Deborah Pope has done a great job with Adagio

I am going to see it again.


Adagio, in a circus context, is a term used to describe acrobalance moves involving two performers.


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  1. I went a second time last Friday night (18/12) and found it just as enjoyable as the first time.

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