Air Play

Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone

Acrobuffos and Southbank Centre

Royal Festival Hall as part of Southbank Centre's Festival of Love

From 09 August 2016 to 14 August 2016

Review by Amy Yorston

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Clowns, balloons and an audience predominantly consisting of very little children might sound like a nightmare but Air Play holds the whole audience in the palm of its outstretched hand.

The concept is a deceptively simple one: to play with balloons, fabric and even glitter in the air. The execution, however, is precise and beautifully conceived creating fleeting moments of art intertwined with playful comedy.

Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone are clowns who tease and test each other, inviting the audience to join in on the fun with no pretence at a fourth wall. Their physical dexterity and varied facial expressions give the piece heart so that, although it may be wordless, the narrative of their friendship is clear.

Aiding this sense of story is an ever-changing soundtrack (incorporating varied styles of music) that paces the action and the mood, enabling it to move from slow and balletic to pumping and energetic.

The size and weight of their various props affects how the items behave in the circle of fans and so the clowns direct and manipulate the objects in a strange but enchanting type of choreography. There are also some carefully judged opportunities for audience interaction, including fun with balloons, which are eagerly lapped up.

With plenty to see and a running time of just under an hour, Air Play hits on a winning combination of visually stunning sculptures and cheeky but heartfelt storytelling that keeps both adults and children enthralled.