If you’ve ever lived with housemates or as part of a growing family, you’ll know how difficult it can be to make room for everyone’s needs. Getting to grips with the ups and downs of the dynamics of communal life, The Ramshackle House tumbles and swings onto the London stage for Christmas.
This exploration of how human beings use space and adapt to its challenges is to brought to Stratford Circus Arts Centre by one of the UK’s leading circus theatre companies, Upswing. Directed by the company’s founder, Vicki Amedume, the piece was developed with feedback from community members, with the aim of speaking to both adults and children.
The short-but-sweet family show, which runs at just 50 minutes without an interval, blends circus with physical theatre to tell the story of a growing and shifting home. Aerial rope-work, clowning and gymnastics combine to form an endearing piece with plenty of ‘wow’ moments.
The storytelling is hit and miss—some moments are conveyed with utter clarity through circus manoeuvres, whilst some moves, impressive as they are, seem to exist for their own sake. And the pacing—so important in a show this short—doesn’t quite succeed; the show takes its time in the first half and rushes to its conclusion in the second.
However, there is no doubting the incredible talents of the three cast members, each of whom shows fantastic skill in aerial acrobatics, tumbling, handstands and physical comedy. Music and lighting is used with panache. And with its short running time and no-dialogue format, The Ramshackle House a great choice for families with younger children this Christmas season.