Down-at-heel hardboiled hero? Check. Glamourous love interest? Check. Seductive femme fatale? Check. Shady criminal villains with evil intent? Yes, all the classic film noir archetypes are here, fear not.

But you will never have seen them portrayed like this. Airealism, an international troupe of aerial circus performance artistes, bring these characters to life in a unique and rather spellbinding way. Ropes, nets, curtains and trapezes hang from the set, and the cast make full use of them, whether swinging from the high-wire or spinning seductively in suspended hoops. Or, in one particular scene, playing a hand of poker whilst suspended upside down on a vertical-hanging net.

Noir is full of superb imagery and some wonderfully choreographed vignettes. One stand out was the hero’s chloroform-induced dream sequence, with the entire cast – dressed in white – spinning, climbing and swinging as he hung suspended and motionless from the trapeze. This, like many parts of the show, was one of those rare stage scenes where there is so much going on you struggle to take it all in.

The soundtrack is filled with music from the 40s and 50s, although at some points more modern dance / techno tracks accompany the action, which I found a little anachronistic to the overall mood of the piece.

Performed with no dialogue, Noir relies on the cast’s skill and grace alone to tell the tale, ably helped by good lighting and stylishly simple costumes.

Airealism are only here for a short while (their runs finish on the 16th), so I’d encourage you to catch this – or their other show, Tales of The Apocalypse, which I’ll review soon – before they coil up their ropes and rigging and depart, off to spin their aerial magic elsewhere.

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