Platform, The Bridge, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

Time was, acrobatics were traditional circus skills that audiences applauded. Nowadays, feats of scary brinkmanship have edged into performance pieces, underpinning dramatic narratives about everyday life issues - high end acrobatics can show and tell of trust, self-discovery and collaboration with an immediacy that’s raw, intense and yet entertaining.

Nosedive - a Barbican co-production with Platform - is a superbly perceptive example of this shift. Co-created/ directed by Ellie Dubois and Pete Lannon of SUPERFAN, it results from the Scottish company winning the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. At its heart is the interaction between adults and children, and how one generation impacts on, and influences the other. The adults here are Michelle Rose, Jean-Daniel Broussé and Nikki Rummer - the latter two won a Herald Angel for their 2019 Fringe show, Knots. Initially, in silvery space-age costumes, all three criss-cross the space in a whirl of hurtling back-flips, cartwheels, with flying and catching part of exuberant games-play. When the children arrive, that flamboyant energy alters in emphasis, and becomes a tremendous metaphor for adults growing up, taking on the responsibilities of child-rearing and - perhaps scariest of all - introducing risk into that learning curve. Albie Gaizley-Gardiner and Lachlan Payne are the impressively game young girl and (younger, smaller) boy who leap into action, somersaulting at speed across the floor, but also leaping airborne into Broussé’s yards-away arms... Both youngsters will balance on adult shoulders, as if surveying the future. They will - on their own account - meticulously copy acrobatic moves the adults have made, because adults are role models... There is teasing across generations but beyond the shared humour there is something profoundly moving and beautifully expressed. Like all animals on the planet - some species physically referenced in clever moments of choreography - the caring bond between young and old is what could mean survival for our kind. A proper Scottish tour would be very welcome.