Belly of the Whale Review

Greenwich Festival 23rd & 24th June

Review by Heather Chalkley 


This award winning troupe gave a magical, lyrical, physical performance, with an innocence that belies the expertise and complexity of what they are doing. Belly of the Whale is about our relationship with self and a journey of trust with others to a point where you know they’ve got your back.

The whole performance was centred on and around the rhythm and flow of the rocking set, a spectacular impression of being on a boat inside a whale’s belly, just like Pinocchio! Tina Koch and her creatives have designed a unique piece of equipment and directed an equally unique piece of circus drama. The music underpinned the whole performance, determining the pace of the action and infusing humour at tense moments.

In this mainly non verbal act, the performers, Amanda Homa, Nathan Johnston and Stefano di Renzo used facial expression to great effect, portraying different emotions. This was reflected in their physicality as they moved about the epic set. The opening scene with Johnston’s childlike play on the structure was gentle and fun. Homa’s scene of turbulence was full of grace and jeopardy. Di Renzo was able to combine humour and trepidation with his scenes on the ropes, with flashes of annoyance at Johnston making the audience laugh out loud. Johnston made the final trust scene, with bodies flying everywhere, extra special with his poetry in motion. The distinct characters of each player shone through.

This is a circus performance like no other – I definitely want to see it again!