Review: Circa: Beyond, The Spiegeltent

There are few shows that will have you teetering on the edge of your seat, watching with as much fear as adoration in your eyes, more than Circa: Beyond, the centrepiece of Edinburgh’s 2015 Christmas festivities.

Performed by a talented acrobatic troupe from Australia, the hallucinogenic show is set in a dream-like world where the lines between animals and people, fantasy and reality, madness and sanity have become blurred.

The show lacks a cohesive narrative, with director Yaron Lifschitz opting for a more abstract approach, allowing the audience to come to their own conclusion about the meaning behind the onstage pandemonium.

Sporting everything from bejewelled lingerie to oversized bunny head-pieces and furry teddy bear costumes, the contemporary acrobats continually defy human nature by pushing their seemingly elasticated bodies to the extreme with their intricate routines and risky stunts. The small circular venue amplifies the nervous tension that’s clearly felt by the audience, ensuring they are kept firmly on their toes throughout.

Rowan Heydon-White brings some variety to proceedings with a bizarrely fascinating act which consists of her solving a Rubik’s cube – only blindfolded and with several of her fellow cast members standing on and hanging off her person.

Elegant solo routines, set to soft music, are visually stunning but the more hectic parts of the show – including a prolonged section where the performers become squawking, riotous, face-licking animals – descend into such a state of unnecessary chaos that the troupe’s impressive talent comes close to being overshadowed.

Beyond is chaotic, creepy and confusing – yet wildly creative and utterly mesmerising to watch!

Circa: Beyond, The Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square Garden, Edinburgh, until Sunday 3 January 2016, from £24, 4.15pm and 7.30pm, 0844 545 8252 .

For more information on Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015, which is taking place in St Andrew Square, East Princes St Gardens and the Royal Mile, visit

Words: Amy Anderson