La Galerie @ Assembly Rooms
Playful, elegant, flawless – La Galerie simply sparkles
It’s not often you see an acrobat wearing a suit – and yet as the performance opens we see the cast of performers decked out some muted eveningwear as they queue up to enter the ‘art gallery’.
This tasteful minimalism in costume is extended to the whole set, which provides a wonderfully aesthetically pleasing canvas on which the acrobats put their own artistic mark. As they enter further into the art gallery, some delightful magic happens. In breathtaking displays of acrobatics, the performers question what art really ‘is’, as they traverse time, genre and become pieces of art themselves.
It’s rare that such a technically outstanding piece is matched by the subtlety of its artistic expression, yet that's very much the case here. Yes, these are some seriously slick moves from some seriously skilled acrobats, but thanks to the fantastic choreography the aesthetic narrative is never compromised. We are left to wonder – how do we ‘understand’ art, and do we perhaps take ourselves too seriously whilst in a gallery?
The answer to this is probably a gentle ‘yes’ on the part of the show. Although aesthetically beautiful, there is always a playful edge to the performance – nothing ever feels too serious. The performance almost moves faster than you can keep up with; with different scenes quickly shifting from one concept to another, across time and space. With truly impeccable timing in both the choreography and execution, the performance is right on the pulse, never lagging. There is some absolutely rock-solid ensemble work here – it feels that the whole stage is the acrobats’ playground, and the ease they feel with each other is palpable.
The incredible visual show is well augmented by some live music from an on-stage character, who is just as fast paced as the rest of the performers: everytime we see them, they seem to be playing a different instrument. The soundtrack is also just like the rest of the performance: classy, beautiful and with clean, modern lines.
This breathtaking riot of a show delivers a dizzying acrobatic spectacle, whilst being genuinely hilarious and thought provoking – a definite must-see.
La Galerie, Assembly Rooms (Music Hall), until 25 Aug (not 19), 6pm, £16-18.50