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How Like An Angel review at Norwich Cathedral

With circus meeting opera late at night in a cathedral, it’s a case of roll up, roll up your eyes at the sheer pretentiousness of How Like An Angel. Especially when the audience is handed torches and herded off like a reluctant school party to explore the church’s side chambers before the show begins.

Designed for a tour of four English cathedrals, the show is a collaboration between Australian circus company Circa and the choral vocal group I Fagiolini. There is some interaction: a soprano circles a hand-balancer, emitting high pitched shrieks. On the whole, though, the solemn monastic chants are just background music for the tumbling.

With no storyline, the miming and mugging of the acrobats is even more irksome and unnecessary than in a typical cirque show. That’s a pity, because the ensemble is skilled. An acrobalance routine with bowls of water balanced on the performers’ heads is compelling.

With the action moving between three stages, the close proximity of some acts provides an invigorating glimpse of the art form’s raw physicality: we can see the red marks where flesh collides with flesh; see the trembling muscles.

Given the height available, however, average silk and corde lisse routines are rigged disappointingly low. A high altitude wire walk or flying trapeze would have made genuinely thrilling use of the building.

A two-man Chinese pole act provides an exciting finale. But, ultimately, there’s nothing here you couldn’t see for a quarter of the price in an old fashioned big top.

Production Information

Norwich Cathedral, June 26-28 then touring until July 20

Director
Yaron Lifschitz
Musical director
Robert Hollingworth
Producer
Norfolk and Norwich Festival
Cast includes
Julian Aldag, Rudi Mineur, Kathryn O’Keefe, Anna Crookes, Clare Wilkinson, Nicholas Hurndall Smith
Running time
70 mins

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