IMA at Edinburgh Fringe ★★★★★
An unmissable transcendental immersive wonder, like being in the company of an angel – the must-see show of 2023.
This 40 minute circus one-hander sounds simple, but leaves you with impossible-to-describe sensations – and left this reviewer in a flood of tears.
Heading out to the gorgeous and historical Murrayfield Ice Arena, you leave the safety of the fringe posters (and crowds) behind and discover real Edinburgh. The people running this space in Murrayfield – including the lovely Donna – are incredible, and the venue is an offbeat wonder. Arrive early to discover a divinely kitsch baby-blue ice café, get stuck in to a yummy peppermint slice, and explore a corridor of posters of legendary ice performances by Torvill and Dean!
Before the main event you enter a contemplative holding space which looks like a waterfall of white silk. This may seem a little over-the-top when you go in, but when you come out it is an essential place to sit & decompress after the emotional gut punch of the show. That main performance happens in a stunning 360° tunnel of stunning starlight, and is performed for around 97 people per performance. The three-part aerial masterpiece turns circus into a religious experience, making you feel like you have transcended the earthly realm and are in the company of a real-life angel.
The first part feels like a funeral shrouded dance piece, the second a slower acrobatic routine, and the third part an eye-popping, spinning aerial circus. Apparently there are seven different performers and it would have been incredible to see them all, but our performer Eszter Seguí-Fábián brings a sincere delicacy and touching emotionally charged movement – with jaw-dropping, precise control – to the whole piece.
Recirquel (from Hungary) are truly the most groundbreaking circus art company in the world. Director Bence Vági’s attention to detail and training performers who break the mold, blurring dance, circus and pure emotion, is unseen before in the UK. Attila Lensér’s lighting in the installation creates celestial euphoria and creates a magical world in which Edina Mókus Szirtes’ music soars all around you.
Expect to be challenged by the wonder, sadness and joy that this out-of-this-world spiritual experience has to offer. IMA is a testament to the transformative and emotional power of the arts. If you’re like this reviewer, bring tissues and let your guard down – and make sure to seek out a well-deserved hug at the end. This show is an emotive experience for everyone – don’t be put off by the ‘dance’ label or the bus ride, you won’t regret it.
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.