IMAGINE performing risky acrobatic feats climbing, spinning, hanging, swinging and balancing on 5ft metal poles.
That’s exactly what Ockham’s Razor, the masters of aerial theatre, do in their award-winning new show Tipping Point, which is at the Brighton Dome on April 5 and 6.
The five highly skilled performers transform the poles into a rich landscape of images as the action veers from near-catastrophe to mastery. They transform into a forest, a cross road and a pendulum but they are not only supporters, but also barriers. The performance is played out to a multi-layered soundscape composed by Adem Ilhan & Quinta, who have collaborated with the likes of Radiohead, Hot Chip and Bat For Lashes.
The group takes its name from the principal of logic that favours the simplistic and the cutting out of unnecessary elements, an idea at the heart of Tipping Point, where the characters go through recognisable experiences, emotions and conflicts that the audience can identify with.
Alex Harvey and Tina Koch both star in Tipping Point and Josh Jones asked them about it, wondering what it is like for the audience to witness the performers climbing, spinning, hanging, balancing and doing everything there is possible with five foot long poles.
Alex: The show is designed to feel like it could fall on you, like it’s in your face, and we wanted to bring in people as close as we could.
Tina: You can see all the little muscle movements, the beads of sweat and how hard people are gripping – it becomes a lot more human. If you’re far away, you can think there are tricks, but up close it’s more personal.
Josh: You must be so focused on what you’re doing, are you even aware of the audience being there?
Alex: You are aware of the audience, you can see them and this is the first show where we interact with the audience during the performances. With Tipping Point, we do acknowledge that they’re there during the scenes.
Tina: But there aren’t any scary audience participations! In the opening, Alex picks up a big pole and he spins it around and the audience can actually feel the wind as it rushes past them.
Alex: It makes people giggle… A nervous giggle.
Josh: Do you start with the space and work out what to do in that or do a piece and shrink it to fit?
Tina: Usually we start with a piece of equipment, in this case, the pole. Very early on, we realised there were a lot of circular motions so we decided on working in a circle. Then, speaking with the composers, they were very interested in looping things and we have speakers behind the audience in surround sound so that the sounds can travel around as well.
Josh: Have your skills ever managed to get you out of a tight spot?
Alex: Yeah! I locked myself out of my house and I managed to climb over my back wall, which is really high, and reassured me that a burglar wouldn’t be able to get up there as it took me a while!
Tina: I did the same – I used to live in a warehouse and I had to climb up the neighbours roof and onto ours, then onto a pointy roof where you could just about reach a window sill, where you had to do a weird pull up thing before going sideways through the narrow window.
Alex: Our cat got stuck in another warehouse and we had to abseil down into it, grab the cat and climb back out.
Tipping Point by Ockham’s Razor is at the Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton, at 7.30pm on Thursday April 5 and Friday April 6. Tickets £5-£15. Ages 5+. Phone 01273 709709 or visit brightondome.org.
Pictures: performers from Ockham’s Razor in Tipping Point/all pictures: Mark Dawson Photography