Damned with faint praise.
It's an unfortunate aphorism, but one that I reluctantly consider apt after seeing Casus Circus' Driftwood at the RCC's Menagerie.
It's a perfectly good show.
Many of its contemporaries at large venues like the RCC and The Garden have the means to overwhelm audiences with high-impact performances of light, sound, colour and movement.
Driftwood is something rare in the crowd of 2017 Fringe circus shows. The five performers gave us a quiet, intimate and cooperative expression of the potential of human movement. The troupe are very comfortable with each other's capabilities, and pull off some truly ingenious balancing woven through the main routines. You have the usual mix of hula hoops, trapeze, ropes and whatnot, but it's the atmosphere of connection that proves the performance intriguing. Even when the performers aren't hanging off each other in improbable fashions, they're sitting by watching one another perform or messing around in the back of stage. It's all very friendly.
And while the show doesn't have much of a narrative per say, it explores our "innate need for contact" through some simple dramatic scenes throughout the staging. Driftwood to me is a show that expresses more in its careful and confidential routines than it does through use of bright costumes or banging soundtracks. It feels very pure.
Which is simultaneously its greatest strength and weakness. With competitors at the RCC and Garden like Blanc de Blanc, Soap, Filament and other large productions, Cacus Circus' show might be considered the shrinking wallflower among more lurid blossoms. The house wasn't quite as full as I was expecting from the popular venue. I wonder if Driftwood might have benefited from being in its own venue away from these heavyweight shows, but then I imagine it difficult to find venues with the necessary facilities for circus routines.
I sincerely hope that's merely rambling cynicism, and Driftwood packs in the stalls and rave reviews. It's a good show with something different to say that should be heard.
But it says it very quietly and the others are shouters.