Review: IMA (Pray)

A memorable moment of calm and extraordinary talent at Murrayfield Ice Rink

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
33908 large
Photo by Bálint Hirling
Published 07 Aug 2023

The Budapest dance and modern circus company, Recirquel have brought staggering, pared back shows to the Fringe before, where unnecessary frills are edited out, leaving all eyes on the extraordinary talents of its performers. This year, artistic director Bence Vági takes his minimal approach to a brave new extreme, showcasing only one performer for the 40 minute show. Instead the focus shifts back to the thrilling experience of being in a circus big top; using darkness, shadow, pinpricks of light and a dramatic soundtrack to draw parallels with majestic desert night skies, or the hushed reverence inside a mystical place of worship.

A custom built space has been created in Murrayfield Ice Rink, and suspense builds as the audience waits to be led through a dark tunnel for the spectacle to begin. An illuminati style cape conceals a spectral shape, moving in a graceful and slightly spooky way towards the crowd. Pacing and precision dominate the choreography where controlled bursts of athleticism on aerial straps are mixed with graceful dance sequences. A religious score of low chanting gives way to a soaring classical melody, and the astonishing gymnast (there are four taking turns during the Fringe run) seems to reach a kind of spiritual ecstasy as she carves and swings through the cavernous space. A dazzling, impressive and memorable moment of calm within the busy Fringe, although it will be interesting to see if the company gives other performers a chance to shine again in future shows.