Backgammon for Beginners is simple, slow and loose. It’s circus at its most gentle and domestic. We are never quite sure what the story is, and that seems to be So and So Circus Theatre’s point. In Iran, tales begin ‘Yeki bood, yeki nabood’, which means ‘There once was someone, there once wasn’t someone’ – with beginnings like these ambiguity is instilled from the start and the truth becomes a hazy thing. And so it is with this performance.
A young Iranian man arrives in 1970s England with a backgammon board and an interest in women. What happened first and what happens next is hard to tell (which ended up feeling frustrating), but the hard-to-grab hold of tale is told through low key but impressive acrobatics that made us smile. And how on earth does someone deliver lines in such a casual way with someone standing on their head? Wow.