The extraordinary ordinary: Ockham’s Razor in This Time

Shoreditch Town Hall, London
January 9, 2020

Maggie Foyer

Ockham’s Razor’s latest offering, This Time, directed by Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey, is a rare beast: an inter-generational circus act. It raises perceptive insights into our age-segregated society where traditional reliance and dependency across the generations is in decline. In a performance where physical strength and skill is paramount this diversity amongst the quartet of performers brought both challenges and innovation.

A metal frame used imaginatively in the aerial work doubles as a doorway leading us into, and out of a world where balance, skill and trust are essential. The spoken narratives between the physical exertion, give personal space for each performer but the movement tells its own story. In the juxtaposition of limbs, in the close cradling or swinging by a single handgrip, the abstract is invested with human images whose potency tugs at the heart strings.

Harvey, as the only male takes on the heavy-weight lifting, ably supported by Mooney, amazingly strong and versatile. Faith Fahy, the youngest is small, light and brimming with talent. She has the most fun of all as she is thrown, spun and lifted while already showing the maturity that this highly skilled work demands. Lee Carter is an inspiration, throwing herself into fulltime circus skill training at 50 and making her mark, when most would be looking ahead to daytime TV with the cat.

We live in a selfie age where starring in your own movie or writing your autobiography has never been easier. With little of the pretension associated with these activities, each artist gets to tell something about themselves. There are stories of courage, risk and perseverance. Fahy’s tale reveals an already strong sense of independence. Mooney tells a very human story of the trials of balancing love with constant exasperation when coping with her first born, Carter speaks of tragedy and survival and Harvey of the sheer enjoyment of high risk. There was a unique delight in linking the persona and the physicality as each performer swungs back into action.

The music composed by Max Reinhardt and performed by Chioma Uma, is another effective combination of maturity and youth, sustained the flow or coming to the fore with a lively medley of songs.

There are moments of high risk, but it’s more about the skill and close cooperation; the coupling of balanced strengths or the novel pairing across ages. Ockham’s Razor is the extraordinary ordinary. It’s theatre without the theatricals, circus without the sequins and lycra. What you get is barefoot talent, casually dressed excellence and a most surprising evening’s entertainment.