If you like elegant and emotional dance and circus performance crossed with clumsy fairies, falling stage rigs and comedy in its finest form then you’ll enjoy Flown by Pirates of the Carabina – and there’s not a pirate in sight!
Pirates of the Carabina originally formed to perform a one-off commission of Flown for Glastonbury in 2011 and as a result of the show’s success; the Glastonbury Arts Commission has become an established award, offering a platform for new circus companies.
Pirates of the Carabina (POC) specialises in theatrical, highly technical circus shows combined with live music. During 2013 POC performed 72 shows to over 22,000 people on their UK tour, produced by Crying Out Loud and have continued their quest to share their talents.
Flown is a show like no other I have ever experienced, with live music that hovers in your mind way past the show. At first I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the lights went down on the stage and an echoey and repetitive track played as a man began spinning a hula hoop. My mind started to drift until he stepped into the hula hoop and started spinning in it upside down at a speed. That was when all eyes shot to him, and my focus was solidly glued to stage from that point until the end of the show.
All of the acts that performed all did so with a captivating heir to them, although I have to say I do have a few favourites. I won’t give too much away but the acts that sit in my mind the most are:
– A stunning duo pole performance of dance and acrobatics. Their act was elegant, strong, emotional and told a beautiful story of a woman and man’s relationship. It also made me feel as though I was aboard a ship watching them perform and the crowd were no longer sat with me.
– The song ‘Idaho’ sits in my mind as one of the most haunting and powerful of the whole show. It was the main song to accompany my favourite duo pole performance of the evening and fit perfectly with the story of the performance.
– Gwen Hales made the best host imaginable – with her age related comedy (you couldn’t help but want to give her a hug), her pony towed carriage (the ponies legs really did move too), her unlucky performances (she even got sucked through the rig of metres of silk – it was pretty funny) and her charisma (her stage presence had the audience eating from the palm of her hand). She really stood out for me and I for one would love to see more comedy like that. We definitely don’t have enough funny women around!
– Laura Moy did a Chinese pole performance that left me clinging to the edge of my seat at the same time as staring in awe. She swung, flipped and spun so elegantly, yet made her performance look effortless. Her strength and wide array of talent will continue to wow many more to come.
I felt the show as a whole was full and exciting and was made more interesting by each individual’s personal story being told in a really unconventional way. One of the things that stood out the most for me was that the audience we able to see everything.
Lighting rigs were brought crashing down (intentionally and with humour), the host was dressed as a fairy and was pulled in by a miniature horse towing her in a carriage and the high aerial performances were counter balanced by people not weights.
All could be seen by the eye and I loved the backstage, intimate feel that Flown offered. Even the music was an unusual eclectic mix of emotive and at times haunting folk. I take my hat off to everyone who was involved with the show. It’s not easy to make intentional accidents happen and for them still to be safe too.
I had a great evening and would highly recommend going to see Flown. The POC team worked very hard and are a very talented bunch of individuals who need all the help they can get to share the wonderful magic, comedy and excitement that their show stands for.
Words by Michelle Stannard