Backhand Theatre imagine a continuation of the Icarus myth with this physical theatre and circus performance. And whilst it is billed as a family show which should appeal to children and adults, it at times can’t seem to make up its mind between which camp it should flit: sometimes veering close to pantomime, before swooping off to explore more profound themes which are likely to fly over little heads.
In Icarus: a Story of Flight, the eponymous hero is rescued from the seas close to a mysterious island by everyman Guy. Together, they build a bond of friendship and trust, rekindling their mutual desire to take to the skies and escape their land-borne prison. This desire burns even brighter in Icarus’ heart when he witnesses a falling star in the shape of a woman descend to earth, and meets and falls in love with the beautiful creature born from the heavens.
The tale is interspersed with circus and acrobatic sequences, using ropes, silks and trapeze to illustrate the airborne portions of the story. Thus Icarus soars on invisible wings above the stage; or he and the star-girl gracefully pirouette in the night sky. And whilst these portions are generally accomplished, they do little to strengthen the already slight plot of the piece, or further the motivation or dimensions of the characters. The part of Guy is played the strongest, with the actor managing to convey the emotions and torment of a man afraid to grasp his dreams, but the other characters are one-dimensional, making their heroic journey less compelling than it could be.
With a little bit more time and care, there is a strong and dramatic piece here waiting to soar towards the heavens, but as it stands, its wings are a little too clipped by a production which tries to be all things to all ages.
Icarus: a Story of Flight is at C eca until 27 Aug at 1730. Ticket details are available on the Fringe website,