Review: Limbo at London Wonderground, South Bank

By Rachel Bishop on June 20, 2014 3:07 PM |

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WHAT'S ON

Delve into the netherworld of jaw-dropping contortion, aerial acrobatics, stunts, illusions and sword swallowing at Limbo this summer.

This alternative circus is directed by Scott Maidment, and set to Sxip Shirey's live score of brass, electronics, hip-hop and club beats.

This was quite possibly the best show I've ever seen - with an explosion of fantastic, quirky music from the beginning, there wasn't a dull moment all the way through to the end.

Even the stunts that may have been seen before - like fire breathing and contortion - were given an extra edge - and the entire show screamed sex appeal.

Sword swallowing featured an extra (slightly stomach-churning) twist, the fire-breathing was fast-paced and actually a little scary when sat just 30cm away from the stage, but the highlight was the "bendy stilts."

Five poles were placed in the audience and performers scaled them with some serious agility, but the coordination and humour of the performers as they swung around the stage made this act - with one cheeky acrobat stealing an audience member's cider and taking a swig as he swung away.

The surprises in the show really made it a hugely unique performance and one I would definitely recommend to go and see.

★★★★★

To August 17, tickets from £10, Udderbelly Festival, Southbank Centre, londonwonderground.co.uk.


Profile: Sword swallower and fire-breather Heather Holliday

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A New York City native, Heather started her career as a high school intern at the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.

She said: "I was doing different internships - photography, one for a pre-school and also the sideshow.

"I was just supposed to be answering the phones, but one day the snake charmer quit and they needed someone to fill in as assistant. I loved it and went from there."

She went on to work all around the world, including a tour to Australia before coming to London Wonderland.

Talking about learning how to master sword swallowing she said: "Everybody's different. There's tons of people who can't get past the second gag reflex and just can't do it.

"I was a teenager when I started and I was busy having sleepovers and hanging out with my friends, so it would've been faster if I was dedicated every day."

She joked that she got into sword swallowing and fire breathing because she was looking for "something good that would not kill me." But she said she could never guarantee how a show would go.

She said: "You can be as confident as ever, but there's always other people around and the audience there, or someone leaves a cable lying around so you have to be aware."

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