This Is What We Do for a Living


Boys' School, Smock Alley ****

Tumble Circus’ This Is What We Do For a Living is staged like a comeback concert. Kenneth Fall and Tina Machina have been performing together for 17 years: they have shared beds and bedsits, successes and injuries, and the show is as much about their relationship as it is a showcase for their circus skills.

In a series of playful vignettes they negotiate the peaks and troughs of their profession, bring to life the interlopers that threaten their dynamic, and dwell on plans for a mini-acrobat to carry on their legacy, a metaphor – yes! – for their future.

With such an extensive performance history the duo share a shorthand that brings fluidity and surprise to their acrobatic feats: a quick smile and a sudden fall and catch is initiated. They even manage to turn failure into a virtue, improvising missteps into comic routines. The acrobatic repertoire may be limited – juggling, hoops, rope and swing – but there is much more to relish in this charming blend of comedy and circus.