Cirkus Cirkör is Sweden’s one and only major contemporary circus company. We last saw a show by them in 2010. Yesterday it was time for another one.

I quite liked Wear it like a crown, the 2010 show, except for one thing: the theme. It was about daring to be yourself, and daring to make mistakes. Which is not a bad theme in itself, but it was presented way too loudly and in-your-face and unsubtly in the show. Feelgood pop philosophy aimed at teenagers. But otherwise it was a nice show.

Their show for this year is titled Knitting Peace. I expected something similar to last time, but came away much more impressed. This show is noticeably more mature: quieter, subtler, leaving more to the imagination.

The dim lighting and the simple monochrome visual design, and the music (partly performed live on stage), all came together into one contemplative whole.

Knitting suffuses everything. The scene decorations are made out of rope, knitted or tangled. The props are rope tangles, or balls of yarn (ranging from palm-sized to one metre), or knitted dolls, capes, nets, or just plain ropes. And because they are so simple, they can speak of many things at once.

A man struggling with a tangle of rope: a tangled relationship? or a tricky problem? or Man’s struggle in general?

Self-inflicted or externally caused?

But the yarns and ropes were not just props: not just for decoration, or for the theatrical aspect of the show. Most of the circus numbers were also built around ropes and knitting. Rope-walking, of course, is an obvious one (but you’d be surprised at the number of variations possible). But ropes can also be used for climbing, hanging, tying… Rope can be knit (live on stage); rope ladders can be unravelled. One can balance on balls of rope, and tumble over and around them, or why not climb into one. The variety was amazing.

Technically the show doesn’t reach the same level as, for example, Cirque du Soleil. But in this show the theatrical aspect was so much stronger that the technical skills didn’t really matter as much. The two shows are so different that they cannot really be compared – they are two different genres.

So there is a lot of knitting in the show, but not much of an overt peace theme. Instead, if I were to try and pinpoint one master theme, it would be “struggle”. So, lack of peace? Or perhaps the struggle to find your peace – not peace as not-war, but inner peace.

There are more nice photos at MyNewsDesk.