Sediment, Assembly Roxy, Review

Submitted by Jon Cross on Tue, 7 Aug '18 5.26pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Company 2
David Carberry (creator, director), Alice Muntz (creator), Chelsea McGuffin (choreographer)
David Carberry, Alice Muntz
Running time

Sediment is dangerous, gravity-defying quest to tell a story through the medium of circus routines.

Described as “an abstract expedition through the layers of human desires and motives”, it draws inspiration from a novella by Dostoyevsky – Notes from Underground – where an embittered, isolated, misanthropic man keeps a rambling, incoherent memoir railing against society and convention.

The result is a deliberately disjointed and fragmented piece, almost entirely without dialogue, an ancient crackling TV providing the occasional scrap of scrolling text or recorded sound-bite.

Physical movement – dance, hoops, acrobatics, trapeze – are used to carry the narrative forward, and there are some extraordinary moments of strength and grace from both performers, both individually and as a couple. A balancing act with a line of bottles is particularly memorable, appearing to defy the laws of physics while also being strangely beautiful.

What comes across is a faltering love story, proceeding by fits and starts; there is certainly a great deal more human contact in the performance than in Dostoyevky’s original, where the unnamed narrator has the briefest of encounters with a prostitute.

The company has won an award for innovation in circus and it is easy to see the reason. The audience were extremely appreciative at the end, but also applauded particular tricks several times during the show, which is perhaps where a problem lies; circus routines might occasionally provide a striking metaphor for human experience, but not many can be easily woven into a story without bringing the narrative to an abrupt stop while we watch and wonder.

August 6-26 (Not 8,13,20) 13:40
Tickets £13-£14