Opening 2020’s London International Mime Festival, This Time by Ockham’s Razor is a mellow, gentle piece – a surprising quality in a trapeze show – that is less concerned with bravura circus acts and more interested in the metaphors they might represent.
Aspects of love – possession, care, support, joy and empathy – are uniquely translated on to the trapeze. The opening act, performed on a triangle trapeze, starts with Faith Fahy sleeping suspended between the upside-down Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey, while above them, Lee Carter perches like a brooding bird.
As Fahy wakes, this multigenerational family begins to climb and swing (Harvey is often a pendulum from which his fellow performers dangle). Though the pace is often meditative, it is nevertheless an adrenaline rush to watch a 13-year-old and a 60-year-old performer move with such assurance so high up.
Each trapeze act – including the exhilarating central section performed by Mooney and Harvey – takes care to convey not only technical artistry but emotional resonance. No wrist is grasped without meaningful care, no drop happens without nervous anticipation.
The piece is held together by autobiographical stories. Mooney has a gift for the comic, describing her tribulations with her toddler daughter. Carter, who drifts on the trapeze with an unhurried grace, recounts a surprise pregnancy at the age of 49 with devastating vulnerability.
Though underserved by a smudgy soundtrack that occasionally obfuscates the sparingly used pre-recorded speech, this slow, thoughtful show is a unexpected take on the trapeze act, and something of a gem.