450 Years is a show about the future, our future, if we fail to take responsibility for the waste we produce.
It’s a dystopian world that’s brought to life, permeated with plastic, from empty water bottles to countless shopping bags, draped over apparatuses and strewn across the floor.
Even the performers are covered in the stuff like some kind of tribe.
It’s an apt theme that threads through the graceful, at times sobering aerial performances, and the more light-hearted moments of the show that serve as a counterpoint to the legacy of waste we leave behind for future generations.
The aerial performances are formidable; the physical stamina, flexibility, strength and coordination is as ubiquitous as the plastic and a delight to watch.
A beautiful duo performance on the silks shows off timing and trust, while the solo silks act packs some hair-raising drops.
The elegant lyra performance has a dark side that will leave you gasping for breath.
Other performances include the aerial straps, cube and net, and though the moves across the different mediums appear somewhat similar, the different shapes of each apparatus make for some interesting variations on the aerial theme.
The comedic relief is a fun and welcome distraction from the hold-your-breath aerial antics and serves to bridge the performances.
Non-aerial acts include a poignant dance with a plastic bag, some clever hoopla by the entire cast, and the story of a talented contortionist robot that’s given a mission to prepare bottles for recycling.
The show ends on a high note with the rescue of an entangled sea creature, which writhes and contorts from a trapeze in a spectacular display of athleticism, before being freed from its plastic prison.
The familiar slogan Reduce Reuse Recycle is left for the audience to contemplate at the end of the show.
450 Years is a show that can be consumed as pure entertainment but it’s the underlying message that makes for a deeper reflection on our consumerist habits and how we can change them.
Either way, there’s plenty of action to delight and enthral.