Review from: Circusfest, Jacksons Lane, London; 22nd April 2018
Natalie Inside Out is a clever, lighthearted and visually stimulating show. Created and performed by Natalie Reckert and Mark Morreau, the combinations of handstanding with live camera work and projection had me thoroughly entertained for the 50 minute running time. Prior to watching this, I personally was not a fan of projection heavy productions but, in Natalie Inside Out, I have seen an artistically justified reason for their use in staged work, far beyond simply being an alternative to a traditional backdrop. The work is also thematically fleshed out and, as an audience member, I felt connected to and appreciated by the duo.
Upon entering the theatre at Jacksons Lane, the stage at first seems more suited to a tech conference than a circus performance. It has a clinical appearance with a white backdrop and flooring, cameras are positioned around the space with a handstand table taking centre stage for the majority of the production, and what appears to be a technical table filling stage left.
Projections and live camera feeds are used frequently which show an impressive variety of ways they can be utilised in live work. Moving geometric patterns on the backdrop compliment the movement of handstand sequences; projections create a more colourful costume on top of Reckert’s all white attire. Cameras help to direct our gaze through close-ups and different perspectives, not normally seen from the audience’s seating. Adding the use of hand-held versus stationary cameras give each ‘filmed’ section a distinct feeling. Each of these techniques fits nicely with the thematic content of each section. In particular I enjoyed the thermal imaging and the extreme close-ups of Reckert’s flesh. There were also moments where very simple movement was abstracted and I was reminded of Merce Cunningham’s work with technology: images were hypnotising and beautiful, created from the simplest of movements.
Moments of insight permeated the show which, for a non-acrobat/handstander, I found amusing. At one stage Reckert breaks down and explains a handstand sequence from her point of view; how each position feels and the level of difficulty or ease with which she executes each position. What surprised me most about the production was how connected and engaged with I felt as an audience member; I’ll admit I had prejudged it. With so much tech involved how could I feel connected? I was wrong. Technology is so often blamed for our woes in modern life, but here it helps to bridge the gap between performers and spectators. There are nods to these issues, and a couple of tech jokes, but the show isn’t so saturated with these that it became a chore. Reckert and Morreau keep it light and fun.
Technological as Natalie Inside Out is, this is not a time to wait for DVD or youtube release: go see the live camera action in person.