The giant upside-down purple cow is a regular fixture on the South Bank in the summer, but somehow I’d never actually been to the Udderbelly Festival until now. I was there on the opening weekend to see Closer, a circus and acrobatic show by Circa.
In the course of an hour, the troupe of five performers treated us to an original, breathtaking and awe-inspiring show.

The sheer skill of the performers at balancing and climbing upon one another was breathtaking. I can only imagine the levels of trust and ability which must be needed to do this kind of display. One of the highlights was the finale involving the creation of a tower from some simple wooden chairs.

As well as the ensemble pieces, there were a number of solo pieces as each performer took to the stage alone. One delivered a beautiful aerial loop display, while another hung upside down from a trapeze. A rope sequence was magical to watch, while another sequence involved balancing on platforms. The highlight was one performer’s feat as the others threw hula hoops over her: she caught them all and ended up spinning about 20 hoops around her.

The theme of the show, as the title suggested, is “closer” and the performances explored human relationships in a warm and humorous way throughout the show, against a cracking musical soundtrack. Like many other members of the audience I gave it a standing ovation, and can unreservedly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in this kind of performance.


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