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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Arts review: Gravity & Other Myths’ The Mirror is compelling from start to finish

Infused with contemporary dance, risqué undertones and cheeky humour, this isn’t your average cabaret circus.

Gravity & Other Myths’ The Mirror is a stylish, sexy and mind-bending display of human strength and creative performance. Infused with contemporary dance, risqué undertones and cheeky humour, this isn’t your average cabaret circus as The Mirror explores permanent self-presentation and entertainment concepts, weaving in next-level acrobatics and superhuman feats of balance and physics.

Framed by LED light rods and leveraging live camera projection throughout the 80-minute show, The Mirror examines the ubiquitousness of screens, selfie culture and the boundaries of performance itself. While some of the storytelling around technology feels a little abstract and challenging to interpret wholly, this doesn’t disrupt or distract from the flow of the performance. Compelling from start to finish, this production doesn’t need bells and whistles to elicit audible gasps and a rousing standing ovation – the performer’s physical movement, their interactions with each other, and their innovative fusing of dance and acrobatics transcends a need for gimmicks or props.

Particularly impressive is The Mirror‘s pace, the thoughtful use of music, and Darcy Grant’s stage direction to move frictionlessly between genres and acts. Beginning softly and slowly with Megan Drury’s sultry vocals, easing us into what’s to come, this production manages to both feel intimate and other-worldly. At the same time, the cast also conveys joy, enthusiasm and Aussie down-to-earthiness that bring the audience in on jokes in a meaningful and authentic way. At times, the audience is also offered a meta ‘peek behind the curtain’ (literally and metaphorically), transported into aspects of rehearsal that feel powerfully jarring and provocative.

While managing to instill some traditional aspects of circus, The Mirror feels unique in its artistic, adult-oriented and contemporary flavours. While some technological tricks fall slightly flat, the acrobatic execution is flawless and consistently awe-inspiring. There’s a sprinkling of creative magic upon all aspects of this production – from costume to choreography to soundtrack to set design. Gravity & Other Myths, having emerged from the indie-circus fringe scene, are certainly one to watch as they continue to tour Canada with this electrifying and elegant spectacle of human capacity and creativity.

The Mirror by Gravity & Other Myths. Directed by Darcy Grant. Presented in Vancouver by DanceHouse and The Cultch. No further performances.

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