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October 12, 2008 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]


Directed by Deborah Pope

At Downstage
From October 10

Reviewed by Jackson Coe

There has been a hum about Downstage for the last few weeks which shows no signs of diminishing. Following On The Conditions… and Bare, we are granted the spectacular circus Adagio, directed by Deborah Pope with original music by Jonathan Crayford. The show is an exciting demonstration of physical aptitude which blurs boundaries between theatre and circus (if, indeed, there are many to begin with). Adagio is an action-packed spectacle which is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

The show is held together by a loose series of narratives set around an apartment block. Each performer develops a character from the apartments, which shifts the show from straight circus acts to one with a much more evolved sense of theatricality. The performers all imbue their characters with a liveliness which could be expected from any piece of physical theatre.

There’s quite a variety of acts packed into the seventy minutes. Stand-outs include a rugby fan, desperate for television reception, stacking chairs higher and higher until he is perched so precariously high that I was actually holding my breath. Another involved a mock ventriloquist act which had me cracking up. I was also rather taken by the aerial work, which explored some daring and beautiful trapeze amongst other skills.

It was for me the soundscape of Adagio which really sealed the deal, with original music composed by Jonathan Crayford. In combination with the polished physical performances, the diversity of sound helped Adagio to define that touch of sophistication which comes as an expectation at the circus. Working in tangent with the performers, the live musicians on piano and double bass produce some riveting music and sound.

Adagio is a polished work where theatre meets the circus, and in this joining, sparks fly.


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  1. HELP!!!
    I saw an Adagio clip on the Good Morning Show (a week or so ago). It was amazing.

    The music was stupendous, subtle, serene, magnifico.
    Is there a CD? I want a copy of the music…please.
    Annette Marshall

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