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My Land review at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh – ‘darkly brooding acrobatics’

My Land at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh My Land at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
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Bence Vági has honed his circus acrobat troupe to a Zen-like level of movement-through-stillness in this dark and atavistic vision of masculinity rising from a bed of earth, spread over a glass, underlit surface.

There is no doubting the technical skill. The six male acrobats balance and pose in their sacking loincloths, taking well-known tricks to new extremes as they slow right down. A single hand balance takes an age as the acrobat turns on his axis; a dual balance has all the grace and beauty of a pas-de-deux – played out live at one sixty-fourth speed.

It is driven by Edina Mókus Szirtes and Gábor Terjék’s throbbing take on Hungarian folk music.

Vági’s visuals are exquisite, too. The soil can be moved to light the performers from below, a silvered plastic sheet bends and reflects the performers from the rear, and his lighting scheme adds a moody, crepuscular intensity.

This is an exclusively male, world, however. The one female performer, Yevheniia Obolonina, is Earth Goddess sowing the land for men to be born from and raising them up in death – between times a plaything to be chased and toyed with.

And there is still juggling. Even when performed as a dual – perhaps even more so – the spell is broken when they drop their balls.

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Verdict
Darkly brooding circus acrobatics feels overburdened by its own masculinity
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