Theatre review: Noodles @ The Lowry

Combine a ton of noodles – literally, a ton – five crazy Spanish and Italian gymnasts and a handful of magic, and you’re still no way closer to understanding this truly absurd circus spectacle.

Friday’s performance of Noodles was unashamedly, unsurprisingly bizarre.

It’s difficult to have an idea in mind of what to expect when watching a theatre show based around the stringy food staple, but I don’t think this was it.

The show has no storyline, according to the producer. This may well be the most important fact to understand.

Once you’ve manage to wrestle internally with the age-old conflict about whether it’s just another pretentious piece of theatre put on to confuse the audience into thinking they’re impressed, you can come to realise that’s not the case.

The show twists its way through endless creatively choreographed aerial gymnastic sequences interspersed with cheap magic tricks, satisfying the adults in the audience just as much as their enthralled kids.

ABSURDITY: Three performers take to the ropes for an impressive acrobatic scene involving … noodles

Scripted entirely in Spanish, it’s safe to say you don’t have a clue what’s going on.

But neither, as it appears, do the performers, who succeed in drawing that tentative line between meticulously rehearsed and appearingly spontaneous.

There’s no pretending that they’re not having a great deal of fun on stage.

At times possessing strongly sexual undertones, Noodles is one of those performances that manages to entertain the adults while appearing innocuously innocent to the younger members of the audience.

And the noodles! Huge strings of elastic imported from Scandinavia, the whole ton of them form the basis for the show. Falling from the ceiling, being catapulted across the stage, they are inescapable and a real sight to behold.

CLASSIC CIRCUS: Featuring wire-walking, acrobatics and magic

Directed by one of Finland’s driving forces in circus art, Maksim Komaro, everything in Noodles is bright, colourful and loud.

The fact it chose to open its 2015 tour in Salford is a credit to the forward-thinking person at The Lowry responsible for booking this season’s circus acts.

The theatre has seen its fair share of absurd theatre over the last year – some excellent, some truly, truly awful – but Noodles was just … different.

Noodles will perform at the end of January at the London International Mime Festival, the world’s oldest celebration of circus theatre.

Images courtesy of Sean Purser, with thanks

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