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Yuck Circus review at Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh – ‘joyful explosion of all-female acrobatics and clowning’

Karla Scott, Brooke Duckworth, Georgia Deguara, Hannah Richards, Georgia Webb, and Aleshanee Kelso in Yuck Circus at Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh. Photo: Vicki Jones

“We put this bit in for people who came expecting more, you know, circus,” announces one of the seven powerhouse-women of Yuck. Having performed a traditional, elegant acro-balance routine accompanied by much eye-rolling, the gang gets back to mucking about joyously.

Yuck is themed around disgust, both that unfairly levelled at any female body that transgresses social norms, and at the truly heinous. Some moments are joyous, including a celebration of mensuration via hilarious rhythmic gymnastics with red ribbons.

Others have a darker edge. A poppy-tumbling dance routine interrupted by the rest of the crew carrying giant wanking emojis remains funny while hinting at an ever-present, sinister misogyny.

The acts are predominately a mix of acrobatics, clowning and dance with the best facial expressions thrown in. Flips and throws are executed with zero grace and all of the playful fun. The performances are a celebration of women’s strength without ever being po-faced, playing against how the female body in circus has been frequently objectified.

A highlight is Jessica Smart’s aerial-straps routine, accompanied by the hilarious Ella Norton hunched over a guitar. It’s a surreal send-up: Flight of the Conchords meets Cirque du Soleil.

The smart, tight ensemble shines and subverts the model of circus companies operating as a line-up of individual star turns. Clad in plain black underwear, there is a utilitarian practicality to their presentation – no glitter or sparkles, but strong bodies and stronger wills.

This Yuck may not be a circus purist’s yum, but it’s truly scrumptious.

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

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Joyful explosion of contemporary all-female circus