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.
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.
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.
Photos 2 and 3: Paul Lewis