A man sits alone in a room. Slowly, he discovers something is not quite right: the normal laws of gravity seem to have been warped and there doesn’t appear to be any way out…

Leo is a spellbinding and inventive piece of physical theatre from German company Circle of Eleven. The concept is simple – yet remarkably effective. On the right of the stage is a cutaway of a room containing the performer; on the left is a live video projection of the same space, but rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

And this is where the magic happens. The simple act of standing up is transformed into a superhuman feat; whilst, as the performance progresses, real-world handstands, tumbles and falls produce effects on the projected screen which not only defy gravity but create something quite mesmerising.

The choreography and physical performance are expertly-executed and creative, building from simple movements to complex and impressive feats of acrobatics. Although there are times when the pacing seems at risk of waning, Leo wards this off by continuously progressing through its loose narrative: moving from the introductory exploratory movements, through dance, and then to a complex and mind-boggling finale.

By the end of the performance, your brain has been successfully hoodwinked: you almost forget to watch the performance in the real physical space, focusing all your attention on the fantasy taking place on the video projection. Leo takes its simple premise and successfully creates a fluid and beautiful work of physical theatre which makes you – like Leo himself – begin to think walking up a wall is the most natural and effortless thing in the world.

Leo runs from 9-29 Aug (not Wednesdays) at 20:30 at St George’s West. More details here.

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