Weaving Together Edinburgh Fringe 2022; 4 Offerings from British Circus  - StageLync

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Weaving Together Edinburgh Fringe 2022; 4 Offerings from British Circus 

As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival struggles to balance its budget and keep the event financially viable yet affordable for artists, circus companies prepare for their arrival to this year’s special edition. This August marks the Festival’s 75th anniversary, and the last edition for Director Fergus Linehan, who announced the end of his tenure last summer. We highlight below some brilliant circuses from the British circus scene that will make their appearances at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Lost in Translation brings Hotel Paradiso back to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as an unmissable experience for the whole family. Spectacular circus acts meet physical comedy, clowning, and slapstick as we meet the charming staff of the quirkily ineffective Hotel Paradiso. This is a character-driven, theatrical show, told with Lost in Translation’s trademark humor and daring circus skills.

Hotel Paradiso follows the plot of a scheming banker determined to take over a family business. Madame and her staff introduce the audience to the hotel— their beloved home— just as their archenemy sets his sights on it. Will the hotel survive such a dastardly plot? A talented cast of six daring acrobats brings this story to life, accompanied by an original score from renowned circus musical director Peter Reynolds.

Fresh from a run in London’s West End, the Barely Methodical Troupe (BMT) returns to Edinburgh for the first time since 2017 with KIN, an innovative show about camaraderie, now brought to life by a new cast. Founded by Louis Gift, Beren D’Amico, and Charlie Wheeller in 2013, BMT is known for their show Bromance, which became an international hit after its premiere in Edinburgh.

KIN, BMT’s second show, was co-commissioned by Roundhouse London and was the hit of CircusFest 2016. Fooling about with group dynamics, KIN follows the shifts, alignments, and realignments of groups through high-octane circus skills, incredible feats of strength, hand-to-hand balancing, banquine, teeterboard, acrobatics, and Cyr wheel routines.

As the group compete for attention and approval, the performers’ physical prowess is deftly deployed, and tumbling, flying, and catching become challenges and opportunities— individual bids for recognition.

Jean-Daniel (JD) Broussé brings his first solo show, (le) Pain, to the Fringe this summer. Well-known internationally as one half of the hugely successful Nikki & JD acro duo (Knot), JD was born to inherit the French bakery passed down within his family through four generations. And yet he found himself on a different route. Instead, he studied Medieval History and Modern Literature in France, then Circus Arts in London. Now he will not follow his father, or his father’s father, or his father’s father’s father into the family bakery. No, JD is not going to bake cakes. Or bread. Or will he?

A play on the French word for bread and the English word for suffering, (le) Pain is a show about breadmaking, physical heroics, and growing up queer in a boulangerie in the south of France, as well as endings and new beginnings. In (le) Pain, we follow JD as he is forced to choose between continuing the family legacy or pursuing his dreams as a performer. Directed by Ursula Martinez, this innovative and refreshing show involves circus, dance, storytelling, Béarnaise folklore, video, karaoke, and laughter.

Part of this year’s Made in Scotland Showcase, Dreams of the Small Gods is an intoxicating one-woman performance that shows us the awakening of Wild Woman. Naked, unaware, and unselfconscious, she explores her surroundings— more animal than human. Winner of the Autopsy Award for Summerhall 2022, this transfixing production, devised and acted by Zinnia Oberski, is directed by Herald Angel Award winner Ellie Dubois (No Show).

Drawn from world mythology, ancient practices and sacraments, Dreams of the Small Gods blends aerial circus, masked ritual, and performance art to question ideas of holiness and profanity. It creates a world that is as hypnotic as it is surreal, exploring the ever-changing relationship between animals, humans, and those we name as our gods.

As Wild Woman awakens to her environment and becomes more aware, her developing consciousness attracts the attention of a primal deity, and this creature compels her transformation. Existence is not enough, awareness is not enough; enlightenment requires curiosity. Drawing arcane power from the coalition of her animal, human, and spirit selves, Wild Woman becomes something more.

Zinnia Oberski says of the show’s creation, “Dreams of the Small Gods is inspired by mythology, folklore, and faerie tales. It is about the ancient power of the Earth and the natural world, and how this power is channeled through humans, in particular women. Instead of striving always for the new, I decided to create something very, very old, about a magic that we’ve forgotten but that is still tangible to us through the medium of the body.

Perusing this list of shows, it’s no wonder why so many circus artists have brought their visions to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival over the years. These four unique circus companies, stories, and approaches help illustrate the depth and breadth of Britain’s contemporary circus scene— and of Edinburgh as a platform to showcase innovative forms of storytelling. With such varied offerings on the festival roster, every one of them is sure to find an audience come this August. And more is still to be revealed before then. So as the Festival re-negotiates its balances, be sure to wish the Fringe a happy 75th… and many more.

Images and press releases shared by Naomi O'Toole. By show order in above post, images credited to The Other Richard and Nino Guiffre; David Levene; JD Brousse; and Paul Maguire. Main image credits to

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