Nosedive, by physical theatre company Superfan, is a well-meaning show about intergenerational burdens featuring three adult performers and two young children.
The physical feats of circus, of course, can neatly illuminate ideas about support and trust, vulnerability and strength, risk and protection. This is all very well, but Nosedive inevitably brings up the subject of climate change and the next generation’s inheritance of a blighted earth.
In between impressive cartwheeling and tumbling, the two kids perch on the shoulders of their elders and peer out into an uncertain future. “What’s going to happen?” asks one, to which her adult counterpart replies that she hopes she’ll be happy, have a fulfilling career and get a good insurance deal on a waterside property. “There are less trees now, and the weather’s unpredictable,” says the child, when asked what’s out there, earning some audience laughs.
This feels problematic. Instead of plunging into the issue of existential threat, Nosedive politely dips a toe into the water. At a time when Derbyshire is almost submerged and Australia is burning, the show feels frustratingly tame in its approach, though the company’s aim is surely laudable.
The children, of course, confer a certain cuteness on proceedings as they scamper and flail about – indicating juvenile wildness – and clumsily attempt to recreate the practised acrobatic tricks of their professional co-stars, drawing more chuckles. The latter three impress with their hand-to-hand balances and flips, and the children also get to display their gymnastic abilities, but the message is fuzzy.