The Things You Can Do In A Simple Space

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 36 months ago
The Things You Can Do In A Simple Space ★★★★★ 5

Image courtesy Chris Herzfeld

Londonist Rating: ★★★★★

Remember that week when you were seven years old and there was nothing you wanted more than to become a gymnast? You were certain that the Olympic gold medal was in the bag. The seven members of A Simple Space have achieved those dreams, but they're not wasting their time and effort on the Olympics. Oh no. They're too busy having fun in their new show at Udderbelly.

To the novice, the upturned purple Udderbelly cow looks nowhere near big enough to host a decent acrobatics show plus audience. But was this acrobatics? 60 minutes later, we're still not sure; in reality the show is a marvellous blend of acrobatics, comedy, dance and a really tough fitness class. The small venue — something of a bovine Tardis, it transpires — actually serves the show well. The audience can hear every breath and every giggle of the cast, putting them firmly on the side of the acrobats, laughing with them, and rooting for them during their toughest tricks.

Most acrobat troupes have a human pyramid as their finale. For this lot, that's just the warm up act. We won't give away all their act and tricks (words couldn't do them justice anyway) but suffice to say you'll find yourself wincing in anticipation, blinking in amazement and roaring with laughter in the same heartbeat, wanting to watch and yet not wanting to watch at the same time.

Sure, some acts feel a little like fillers, not least a 60 second interlude in which the seven of them compete to blow up balloons and mould them into balloon animals behind their backs, but for this we forgive them: the intensity of what they do renders it impossible to continue relentlessly at full pace for the full 60 minutes.

At times, it feels like watching a university rugby team competing — to hold their breath for the longest, to stand on their heads for the longest, to skip the fastest (and don't get us started on the strip skipping). Initially, the show feels haphazardly thrown together, but therein lies its beauty. So random is it, that you really don't know what will be thrown at you — sometimes literally — next, resulting in a Mexican wave of nervous laughter in the audience.

It may not be the most polished performance — intentionally or otherwise— but we're giving it five stars for gusto and guts alone. The infectious giggling of both audience and cast is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, no matter what kind of day you've had. It may also leave you with a renewed pledge to work on your own fitness. Or maybe that's just us.

A Simple Space is on at Udderbelly on Southbank until 24 May. Tickets from £15. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 25 April 2015