Why should female circus artists be expected only to perform aerial silks and floor work? Why do men get to take the lead in strength skills, as the base of towers and lifts? Not so in YUCK Circus, a troupe that smashes industry tropes with a subtle nod and wry smile.
The seven women subvert these male-centric circus disciplines and highlight the double standards present within their craft. But YUCK Circus also brings these issues into a wider context. It highlights the injustice in a world that recoils at women on their period or categorises drunken behaviour as unfeminine, a sexually unbalanced society that still accepts how virginity—deflowering—is something to be taken, or where the new language of love is an aubergine emoji.
And while adeptly emphasising all these obstructions to equality, YUCK Circus also inject comedy into their show. Ella Norton performs cleverly observant clowning, Karla Scott smashes apart “man-mojis” with acrobatic prowess and Georgia Deguara hammers nails into her brain to block out the noise of all those tasteless chat-up lines. The beauty is in those little details that aren’t woven quite so intricately into the other acts.
The performers are a reminder that misogyny is still an issue in this discipline. And for those who demand a circus show stuffed full of traditional trickery, Jessica Smart provides an impressive aerial show that keeps the purists happy.