The Pulse – Edinburgh Playhouse

Directed by Darcy Grant

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Never has the Playhouse space felt so fully utilised and understood, then with this valuable display of the power and synchronicity of the mortal machine. Produced by the contemporary Australian circus group Gravity & Other Myths, The Pulse takes a loud and thrilling place as a remarkably visceral piece of dance, movement, and vocals.

In construct, The Pulse is a living, breathing tribute to the wealth of human connection and growth. The structural manoeuvres are nothing but a testament of the dedication and exceptional skill – not only at the base muscular level, but of the choreography and movement to ensure the flow of the production, and the acrobatic stunts or lifts do not halt the momentum.

But this grand impression is not solely at the hands of physicality, the addition of the live choir tremendously uplifts the movement – synchronising both with the cadence of voice. Darcy Grant’s direction understanding the importance of both – fusing the two under Ekrem Eli Phoenix’s composition a masterpiece addition to The Pulse, one which emboldens the movement, without detracting or robbing attention – all culminating in a gorgeous ‘swap’ of conductor and dance captain, the duo trading places in an emphasis to appreciate and even learn

And though largely stripped back, Geoff Cobham’s design has merit, with lighting imbuing ropes with a neon glow, later to be used to cradle and introduce more elements of ariel acrobatics. The precision is exemplary, and in truth, sometimes awe-strikingly breath-taking in the seamless transitions is the simplicity of human staircases, solo movements and tossing and contemporary circus-style catches.

Movement in a raw state, where the act of organised precision comes with the secure knowledge of talent, but never feels forced or orchestra, instead this towering pulse of the biological machine continually defies audience expectations – doubling down and increasing the danger, the technique, and the talent.

For god’s sake – remember to breathe. The Pulse amplifies a spirit the company conveys to the rafters, containing the Edinburgh Playhouse in a bubble detached for the remainder of the city for a while. It channels the individualism of every performer and seeds them into a mesmerising, shimmering organism of movement, of song, of blood and sinew – a visceral and oddly poetic demonstration of the remarkable lengths the human form can take.

And if by the end of this you think; ‘I could do that’, please remember that no – you really can’t.

‘Valuable display of the Mortal Machine

The Pulse’s run has concluded, but information relating to the production can be found here.


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