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Caravan of Lies, Crucible Studio, Sheffield

Sheffield Telegraph, 6 October 2000

Atmosphere is thick (literally – with dry ice). Shabby circus props hang from ropes eerily swaying in the gloom, adding two kinds of suspense.

This circus Is the last enclave of fading sparkle as disillusioned performers cling to dreams of old glory. Friction between them is quickly and cleverly established without words. These people have a past we have blundered into as their tensions come to a head. Darker sides of personality break out, and emotions are shown in high energy, mesmeric dance or short bursts of dialogue.

The clown is an unhappy bully, menace lurking behind greasepaint. The jaded acrobat can’t catch or balance well any more, the traipses artist has no-one to catch, or catch her and swings forlornly in space.

Bodies entwine in knots of limbs and quirky choreography as the performers realise the life roles they play no longer fit.

And between them all is a dysfunctional and unaware being, conveyed in a superb piece of dance gymnastics, rubber-limed movements and twitches. Treated by the others as a dog-life comfort, she briefly leaves the low-level life to break into her balletic potential, reflected by distorted mirrors, like a strange parody of a jewellery box dancer.

Good, intriguing performances and impressive agility from all, with the set and music creating just the right balance of disturbing broodiness.