A man in a room with a naked lightbulb and a suitcase. And a distorted reality, where that whole gravity thing doesn’t exist.
This is Leo, a mind bending, surreal look at breaking the rules that keep us in our world.
Circle of Eleven has blended acrobatics, music, dance and theatre into a performance where the laws of gravity don’t exist. The performance opens to a set of three walls, all different colours, and Leo (Julian Schultz) who is alone in exploring it. Right beside this set, in the space of Theatre Junction Grand, is a screen displaying the set that Leo is in, except it’s on its side. This creates an interesting distortion of reality, where the audiences chooses whether to watch Leo moving in the actual space, sideways, or at the video screen (where is looks like he is walking on walls at times).
Leo starts off by exploring his world. Experimenting with the laws of gravity that don’t exist. Seeing how he can move through his space and stick to the wall. This exploration is funny and charming, as Schultz does a great job of conveying his child like wonder and curiosity. Leo doesn’t fear the shifted reality he lives in, this reality creates and sense of amazement within him and is amusing for the audience.
Leo then starts to become more comfortable with his distorted reality and begins to explore what is in his suitcase. His suitcase has music within it and this is when the performance features movement grounded in dance. Schultz dances in the styles of hip hop blended with breakdance and these moments are fun and feature some interesting music. Everything from Ravi Shankar to The Grits, Leo stands by the saying ‘why walk through life, when you can dance through it?’
At this point, in this eighty minute performance, Leo pulls out chalk from his suitcase. He starts drawing on the walls that surround him. A table, some chairs, a cat. It’s here, that the performance is aiming to illustrate Leo’s isolation. He draws animal companions and glasses of wine for himself and seemingly, a human companion. But the movements within these moments are still playful. The tone of the movements do not illustrate the fact that Leo is alone. The drawing then come to life on the screen, in a twist of pure magic.
Leo is choreographed by Juan Kruz , and the movement is innovative and playful. Flavia Hevia’s lighting design adds a layer when Leo is exploring his space. Schultz is a skilled performer, moving in the space with fluidity and his acrobatic moves are impressive.
This performance is charming and playful. It isn’t a wonder that Leo won the Best of Edinburgh Award at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is physical performance theatre that balances on the edge of playful curiosity. Leo isn’t ground breaking dance theatre though. It relies a little too heavily on tricks of perception, instead of charm that is based in movement. It strikes wonder through theatrics rather than through organic movement performance. But it is still a fun piece that is suited to all ages.
Leo is part of the Fluid Movement Festival and runs until Saturday. Tickets and more information available online.
Photo Credit: Andy Phillipson