The excit­ing out­door the­atre pro­duc­tion On Edge is now out of lock­down and back on tour. The show is a unique and genre-defy­ing blend of per­for­mance skills, superbly ener­getic and engag­ing, mak­ing this a ground­break­ing piece of the­atre. Dance, cir­cus skills, pup­petry and park­our con­verge in this piece with a mes­sage: to high­light the issue of mod­ern slav­ery. Vic­tims of slav­ery live along­side us – this pro­duc­tion by Jus­tice in Motion leads us into their world, as we fol­low the sto­ry of a migrant work­er join­ing the con­struc­tion indus­try who soon finds him­self in a night­mare situation.

On Edge debuted in 2019 and has been relaunched and updat­ed for 2021 with sev­er­al changes to the cast and per­for­mance. Join­ing the com­pa­ny are three new per­form­ers: Eric Mitchell, Simi Egbe­ju­mi-David and Seb Koci. 

Working together

I spoke to park­our expert and cast mem­ber George May­field, who plays the part of the gang­mas­ter. He told me about the lat­est recruits and the way the team work. “These three new guys are amaz­ing. Expe­ri­enced actors, acro­bats, cir­cus per­form­ers. Seb Koci is a real­ly good Park­our athlete.” 

In com­mon with Seb, when George joined three years ago, he was a Park­our devo­tee but had no expe­ri­ence of work­ing in the­atre. “Each of the cast mem­bers is skilled in dif­fer­ent ways, whether they’re actors or dancers or acro­bats. The rehearsals are where we learn from each oth­er and fur­ther our skillset. It’s a very shar­ing and valu­able experience.”

For the relaunch, artis­tic direc­tor Anja Mein­hardt turned once again to Chris Evans, Asso­ciate Direc­tor of Gecko The­atre, who had worked with the On Edge cast in 2019 as Asso­ciate Direc­tor of JIM. He was able to spend a few weeks of 2021 with the new crew and tweaked the pro­duc­tion, strength­en­ing the nar­ra­tive, and mak­ing the jour­ney of the main char­ac­ter eas­i­er to fol­low. Also work­ing along­side them was Rehearsal Direc­tor Luke Chad­wick-Jones. And new Stage Man­ag­er, Phoebe Knight, her­self a Chi­nese Pole acro­bat, brings new ener­gy – she also plays a small part in the pro­duc­tion, the sole female presence. 

The set of On Edge is dis­arm­ing­ly sim­ple and so effec­tive: a struc­ture of scaf­fold­ing which is end­less­ly recon­fig­ured as part of the per­for­mance. This is the team’s build­ing site, and it works like a dream for all those astound­ing­ly impres­sive Park­our moves. Then there’s the music – a spe­cial­ly com­posed sound­track, an atmos­pher­ic elec­tron­ic piece by Quentin Lachapele. 

Parkour Park

Also back for this year is the Park­our Park, with a new set­up for 2021. This mobile Park­our prac­tice park (thank­ful­ly with a soft land­ing base) will be set up for post-show instruc­tion with the show’s Park­our experts on hand to help you out. It’s designed for kids, and suit­able for kids and adults, so if you fan­cy learn­ing a few impres­sive Park­our moves, now’s your chance. 

Jus­tice in Motion is a the­atre com­pa­ny with a mis­sion to high­light social prob­lems, from lone­li­ness to mod­ern slav­ery. Check their web­site for fur­ther pro­duc­tions and projects.

Catch On Edge per­for­mances below. FREE ENTRY.

August 14, Cir­cu­late, Bell Square, Houn­slow , 1pm, 4pm. No Park­our park
Sep­tem­ber 4, Cir­cu­late, Ilford
Sep­tem­ber 11, The Full She­bang, Mans­field
Sep­tem­ber 18, Lan­cashire Encounter, Preston

Pho­tos 2 and 3: Paul Lewis

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