SPIEGELTENT, ST ANDREW SQUARE
THEY fly through the air with the greatest of ease, this scruffy troupe of musicians and acrobats dressed like chic ragamuffins, and purporting to be heavy-drinking n’er do wells having a laugh in a backstreet whisky den.
The Crusty Suitcase Band, led by Ben Walsh, moves in and out of the foreground, serenading on a variety of woodwind and brass instruments, all ably played, plus a mellow double bass. Walsh scritches and pops a plastic bag with percussive intent, and it all goes a bit Stomp when everyone grabs a box to pound out a beat.
As if it isn’t enough to get your heart pumping, the acrobats – David Carberry, Daniel Catlow, Chelsea McGuffin and Mozes, will lodge that racing heart firmly in your throat as they compete with one another to amaze the crowd. And they do! They walk on champagne bottles as easily as if they were tarmac, fling themselves – and each other – around with abandon, and build towers out of boxes, climb them, and balance there making a mockery of gravity.
The trapeze stunts are terrifying and awe-inspiring. At one point Mozes – showman enough to let us think his life really does hang in the balance – supports himself by one Achilles tendon. They can even make a bicycle menacing.
It culminates in a three person pyramid that’s a real testament to teamwork. Just when you think your nerves are shredded beyond recovery, they bring out a bounce board catapult.
What’s most endearing is that afterwards, they flash cheeky monkey grins as if to say, “See what I did?!” It’s adorable. You’ll gasp. You’ll marvel. You’ll be charmed.
Runs until 21 December