Hang On

Theatre-Rites, Ockam's Razor and Lyric Hammersmith co-production in association with York Theatre Royal
York Theatre Royal
(2008)

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In a playful collaboration, the renowned children's theatre company Theatre-Rites joins together with the impressive aerial artists of Ockam's Razor to produce a family show to challenge parent and childhood fear alike.

Basing the show around triangles - of objects, mobiles and people - the three aerial artists are joined by three performers new to the company: a juggler (Stefano Di Renzo), a percussionist (Nao Masuda) and actor/improviser Eric MacLennan. Starting the show off with six coats on hangers in triangles of lights the performers weave in and out of the space whilst MacLennan engages with the audience. His search for the right coat brought about the delighted giggles of the younger members of the Dress Circle which added to the enjoyment of the gentle comedy.

Ockam's Razor begin their work with an object and here it is a three-tiered, people bearing, metal mobile of different triangles. As the aerial artists take to the air and play with weight balances and the rotating sculpture, MacLennan becomes more and more nervous, crying out 'Hang On!' Like an over-enthusiastic physics teacher, MacLennan bounces between trying to explain to the audience his fascination with triangles whilst desperately trying to keep the disobedient aerialists' feet on the ground. Thankfully his role as Health and Safety officer is not successful and Alex Harvey, Tina Koch and Charlotte Mooney climb, swing and balance their way on to the sculpture.

The programme explains that Director Sue Buckmaster was reading the Good Childhood Report during rehearsals which identified that British children suffer from anxiety, stress and social worries. The report further suggests that these 'children are the unfortunate victims of their parents' anxieties'. Therefore the production seeks to explore the delicate balance between protection and freedom afforded to children, when fears are being projected on to them. Here, MacLennan becomes the character whose fear of heights is projected on to the others around him.

The hour long show is certainly a suitable Easter excursion to the theatre for all the family and plays with some interesting themes, beautifully lit and dynamically accompanied by Masuda. However it lacks the physical precision and grace of Ockam's Razor's previous production at York Theatre Royal Arc, Memento Mori & Every Action. That exquisitely choreographed show left you breathless with the spellbinding movements and inventive relationships explored in balance between the performers. In Hang On the physicality is less intricately woven and one can't quite help but feel like you're being left out of the fun experiment which the physics teacher has allowed the other kids to play with.

Matt Boothman reviewed this production at the Lyric, Hammersmith

Reviewer: Cecily Boys