Fun With Paper: Folds At The Southbank

Photo by Gerardo Sanz

Photo by Gerardo Sanz

It turns out the wrapping can be as much fun for grown-ups as it is for toddlers, if the four men in Folds are anything to go by. They manage to construct a whole show almost entirely out of cardboard and brown paper. Using circus skills and gentle humour, production company Enfila’t explore some of these humble materials’ possibilities. Paper can be twisted into a tight rope as well as used as a projectile; and who knew a man dashing around inside a cardboard box could be so amusing?

Music is central to this show – the double bass acts as both apparatus and instrument; a length of stretched sticky tape is plucked like string. Accordion, banjo and tuba provide more of the soundtrack. There’s also a huge metal rocker thing that the men tumble all over, rolling nailbitingly close to the edge of the stage. The moment when the ensemble are all on the rocker, making music in eccentric positions, is a highlight.

Down to earth, Folds shows a more intimate and simple side of circus. Multilingual (French, Spanish and Danish, as well as a smattering of English), it’s the shapes thrown on stage that are important rather than the words. There isn’t a narrative as such, just a playful spirit and a dash of derring-do. If you’re looking for a family show this Christmas, this one is sweet without being sickly. It’s not glitzy or jaw dropping, but it has charm.

Folds plays in the Purcell Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, SE1 until 31 December 2013, various times. Tickets £18. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket.

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