The Vault festival is back and in full swing, quite literally in the case of Becoming Shades – a post-apocalyptic circus performance based upon the classical greek story of Persephone’s descent into the Underworld. Becoming Shades takes you on a journey down the river Styx in this immersive, all-female journey with acrobats, aerialists and fire-artists as you’ve never seen them before.
What Becoming Shades really excels at is creating an atmosphere, largely through inspired costume, sound design and lighting. The set is minimal, but well formed and adds to the slightly chaotic atmosphere and helps transform the space into something other-wordly. The use of live music is one of the highlights of the show, the vocal performances mixed with the electronic music was incredibly well executed.
The audience is constantly being moved throughout the show, standing up, moving to one side or the room and being told to sit once again on the floor. Whilst this did allow for the complete use of space, it was rather cumbersome and took away from the performance somewhat. It also created sightline issues at times.
As for the performers, they show true physical magnificence, telling story through movement in a way which tells its own tale while playing into the themes of the overall narrative, however the overarching theme of Persephone’s seduction by Hades from the classic Greek tale is a little lost. The feats of physicality are a wonder to behold and are performed with a sense of ease that makes them appear almost magical.
Becoming Shades combines amazing sound design, a playful sense of mischief and amazing circus skills to provide a mixed discipline performance like you have never seen. Catch it at The Vaults until the 18th of March.
My ticket was provided in exchange for a review, all words and opinions are my own.