This experience is built for intimacy, and it’s not just in the way the physical structure of the tent facilitates it, but in the way that sitting in a small quiet circle with a group of strangers does, and in the simple way that Cordery captivates.
Cordery is a mesmerising performer while he is in the air. There is something transfixing about the way he moves, the way he builds and releases tension both in the ropes and in the room. He begins the performance concealed in the ceiling of the tent and slowly emerges down the length of his six manila ropes (strung over pulleys to create twelve). The performance is precise and restrained, and I am in awe of a level of upper-body strength that I will never possess. It is also my first time seeing someone do the splits mid-air. I worry about rope burn. Cordery doesn’t.
The experience does unravel a bit for me when Cordery comes to ground and starts to ‘act’. He walks in a circle and looks wistfully into the not-so-distant distance of the tent walls, bearing an expression that might be longing or melancholy or really anything else. It’s a bit awkward in such a highly intimate space, and I’m not sure that it achieves what the performer set out to. I hate the phrase ‘suspension of disbelief’, but in this moment I am reminded that the performer is just some guy and we are all just sitting on the floor in a gym watching him try to *make us feel something*. It’s a relief when he returns to the ropes and his level of skill is once again made clear.
Heartstrings is running again at The Circus Hub next weekend (Friday 24 February and Saturday 25 February) at thirty-minute intervals. Book your tickets on the Fringe website.