Tales of the Apocalypse is Airealism’s sister show to Noir, both appearing at the Gilded Balloon until Sunday.
As with Noir, this show is a series of impeccably choreographed aerial acts of rope skills and physical theatre, performed by an expert troupe at the top of their game.
Tales of the Apocalypse has less in the way of plot than its companion, being more of a series of vignettes loosely tied together by a nightmarish post-apocalyptic future vision. Performers wearing gasmasks, confused survivors, mutants, robots – imagine Mad Max reinterpreted by David Lynch and you’re maybe something close to half-way there.
As previously mentioned, I was particularly impressed by Noir’s large-scale ensemble pieces; Tales of the Apocalypse didn’t have these, with most sequences featuring only one or two performers at a time. It didn’t suffer from this however, due to some dazzling lighting and costumes, married with a well-matched soundtrack which this time fitted the stylised visuals perfectly.
And what visuals they were: some were breathtaking in their beauty and style whilst others amused or fascinated, such as the divertingly original take on war in Heaven, which saw Gabriel and the Devil locked in a struggle for supremacy, constantly clambering over each other on a trapeze until one emerged triumphant.
Both of Airealism’s shows have been stunning, but if I’m forced to pick a favourite, it’s this one. Its unique vision, acts of skillful acrobatics and its direction add up to a show that is hard to fault and deserves full houses for the rest of its all too short run.
Tales of the Apocalypse runs until Aug 16th at the Gilded Balloon. Price £10 (£9 concession)