If you prefer the louder, Big Top side of contemporary circus – rather than quieter, contemporary dance-influenced affairs – then Super Sunday could be for you. The show has “a feeling of the gates of the amusement park being opened, and there’s all these toys you can play around with”, according to Race Horse Company co-founder and acrobat, Rauli Dahlberg. These ‘toys’ are in fact large machines that the acrobats perform on, in, and explode out of.
“It’s an acrobatic show, with six circus artists on stage. We have a huge machine called the wheel of death, and a trebuchet, which is kind of like a human slingshot. Then we have a teeterboard, which is a wooden plank, with two guys jumping, facing each other and flying up to seven or eight metres. Then there’s a human cannon. It’s a kind of big rollercoaster colourful show with a lot of energy. And a lot of action.”
Wheel of death? Rauli casually uses the term in our conversation, and it turns out that it’s an official title for the machine (pictured). The wheel of death sees two acrobats in spinning wheels, “like hamsters”, in which they can do flips and “go really high”. The wheels can go as high as ten metres in fact, “which is why it’s called the wheel of death. We have a few safety mats underneath but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll hit those. It needs nerves of steel.”
It’s not all massive machines however: one act in the show sees Rauli doing flips on a yoga ball, for example. He tells me that their double trampoline act is one of the highlights, which sees acrobats trampolining with an array of
colourful balls, replicating the look of a tumultuous children’s ball pit.
Reviews have praised the show’s humour, which comes from the way in which the acrobats respond to the strange, flamboyant goings-on onstage. “We don’t speak during the show. It’s mostly body comical: kind of how the body reacts to a situation. We have a few characters for example, such as a teddy bear coming onto the stage. The situations are completely weird. It’s really playful, [with] a lot of different tricks, machines and objects being thrown around the stage.”
Super Sunday arrives at Brighton Dome after a well-received run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer, having premiered in Stockholm in 2014 as a collaborative effort without a named director. The six acrobats discuss what worked well – and what didn’t – in previous performances, to develop and hone the choreography. “If somebody gets a crazy idea that they want to add – or they want to take away something from the show – then we do it. It’s constantly changing.”
Photo by Petter Hellman
Brighton Dome, 17-27 Dec