Luminosa Review

Jacksons Lane, London – until 29 September, then touring

Reviewed by Debra Stottor


Jacksons Lane in north London has been closed for some time, not just because of the pandemic, but for extensive refurbishments, so it was good to see this community arts centre open its doors again, in advance of the full reopening at the end of October.

This is the world premiere of Luminosa, a brand-new, thrill-a-minute circus cabaret from Jacksons Lane and Lost in Translation. The venue is the UK’s leading supporter of contemporary circus, so it’s appropriate that the reopening show is a display of some of the most skilled acrobatics you’ll see, all performed with style, panache and a healthy dose of humour.

The skills on show are both breathtaking and spellbinding – we were treated to a feast of Chinese pole, silks, straps, aerial hoop, hand balancing, acrobatics, hooping, flying pole and much more. I was particularly in awe of the juggler lying on her back juggling five football-sized balls with her hands and feet, but equally astounded by the skill, strength and extreme flexibility of all the participants as they twisted, twirled and threw each other around for 70 minutes.

Special mentions go out to Zaki Musa, who managed to work his way up, down and around a spinning pole while rocking sky-high heels (and leaving very little to the imagination, clothing-wise), and to Roisin Morris and Massimiliano Rossetti for their Korean cradle work – he stands high in a frame, swinging her back and forth and releasing her to unleash spectacular somersaults and twists, then catching her as she returns. The teamwork here truly makes the dream work.

The original music, written and performed by Peter Reynolds, gave an air of pre-war Berlin cabaret, and made the perfect match for the drama of the action on stage.

Having seen an earlier Lost in Translation production, The Hogwallops, I knew I was in for a treat, and certainly wasn’t disappointed. This is one of the UK’s leading circus ensembles, touring internationally throughout the year, and Luminosa will be showing nationwide from October.

Jacksons Lane is the flagship arts and cultural venue in Haringey, and the transformative redevelopment of this historic building aims to improve accessibility, create a better audience experience, modernise the studio spaces and provide a flexible working environment. Work is still under way, but if Studio One, where we enjoyed post-show drinks, is anything to go by, this is set to be a space well worth visiting in the future.