Circa’s Peepshow provides an occasionally unusual viewing experience for its punters. It’s a circus show that gamely plays around with the voyeuristic expectations and objectification inherent in acrobatic (and erotic) display. Silver tinsel, red lights and a bass thrum invoke a sense of back-alley sleaze that’s frequently subverted into something strange or whimsical: an innocent juggling routine or a wild, flailing dance.
There are no nipple tassels here; the troupe of three men and four women all wear tight spangly hotpants and the straightforward suggestiveness of a slinky routine or controlled power of a tumbling act is often interrupted by juddering convulsions and falls. Attention is drawn to the tensile toughness of flesh as well as the quivering tension that racks the body of a man balancing a couple of other humans on his head. It’s as if a hernia could appear at any second from the hotpants.
Demonstrations of female strength are frequent and impressive, save for a short and tiresome sequence in which a woman has to show off her bendiness and coyly take off her bra.
The most extreme flexibility comes from Jarred Dewey, a human pretzel on the swinging trapeze capable of eye-popping torsion between chest and groin. Also slightly gag-inducing is his ability to unfurl metres of tissue paper from his mouth into the jaws of his colleagues.
Enhanced by dynamic lighting and a score that includes jazz violin and a languorous Eurythmics cover, Peepshow isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a generally progressive and enjoyable hour of circus.