Extra Review: Perch

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If ever there was a performance made for the streets of Glasgow, and this summer in particular, then Perch was it.

The carnival of flying and falling swooped into Rottenrow Gardens on Saturday and Sunday, linking with a simultaneous performance in Campinas, Brazil, and inviting audiences into the weird and wonderful imaginations of its organisers.

There are a few of them; Scotland’s street art team Conflux joined forces with Australia’s Legs on the Wall and Brazil’s LUME Teatro to explore new perspectives looking down on the world below — in Glasgow’s case, from the rooftops of the surrounding university.

The result was an assault of physical theatre, circus and jaw-dropping aerial stunts — all delivered with a cheeky wink to the city.

Sunday’s audience gathered (no doubt thankful at avoiding Saturday’s weather) for a late night show, and at 9.15pm were allowed to enter the inner sanctum of Perch, greeted by birds of varying tribes — some stern, armed with rulers and ready to tell off passers by, others lurking in the bushes and providing a little jolt now and then.

So far, so bizarre.

The key to a production like Perch is audience participation, and with such a large group of people moving around throughout, it was easy for performers to pick on nervous types — and have them laughing in no time.

Birds soared through the air, a lone figure descended and ascended from a nearby looming tower block and even the comical chicken lady was able to take to the sky — proof, according to our feathered compere, that anyone can fly if they believe it.

Billed as a highlight of the Festival 2014 calendar, Perch was, indeed, a fitting start to Glasgow 2014, with festivalgoers spending much of the time wondering what was going on — before giving in and going along with the party atmosphere.

A stroll around Rottenrow as the performance drew to a close showed audience members young, old, straight-laced or ready to cut loose, all delivering dance moves taught by our feathered friends with enthusiasm (some even continued out into the street).

It’s probable that the Brazilians were giving it their all too...but let’s face it, we all know that if someone is asking, Glasgow is dancing — and with all eyes on the city, an event like Perch shows that we have every reason to celebrate.