Ainu Palmu





SIDEKICKS / SIVUHENKILÖT A 100- yaear-old wedding photograph comes to life with people stepping out of the picture: a man who loses his face, a woman who loses her leg, and an elderly person who starts misbehaving at a family dinner and eventually turns into a horse. And somebody is hanging upside down on a headboard. Athmosphere transforms from disfigured to melancholic until interrupted by sudden laughter. Text: Eira Virekoski Direction: Alma Lehmuskallio Concept: Henna Kaikula, Alma Lehmuskallio, Eira Virekoski Stage design and costumes: Janne Vasama Sound design: Joonas Outakoski Lighting and video design: Ainu Palmu Performers and co-creators: Milla Järvinen, Saku Mäkelä, Ulla Raitio Photos: Heli Sorjonen, Ainu Palmu Production: Kaikula, Lehmuskallio and working group Co-production: Cirko-Center for New Circus


Review in Helsingin Sanomat (The biggest newspaper in Finland)


Daring acrobatics and balance acts turn scenes into surrealist visions.

The artists succeed in a job well done.

The surrealistic Sidekicks grasps you thoroughly.


Sidekicks. First premiere at the WHAT THE CIRK? - festival in the Banquet Hall

of the von Fersen Tenaille in Suomenlinna.

Directected by Alma Lehmuskallio, text by Eira Virekoski.

Performers and co-creators: Milla Jarvinen, Henna Kaikula, Saku Makela and Ulla Raitio

On show in Suomenlinna at the WHAT THE CIRK? -festival is the Finnish first premiere

performance of Sidekicks, which with great insight gives a brush-up in the realms of circus,

theatre, painting, verbal art and movement.

The play, directed by Alma Lehmuskallio, puts focus on one's needs of being seen and

being touched. The side persons in the play remain lacking contact, their task is to act as

supporting coulisses to main characters. They are persons that long ago did pass their

own due date, left with either a cramping grip back in the past or a clinging to some


Suomenlinna in winter and the Tenaille von Fersen apartements serve as appropriately

secluded surroundings to those having been left aside and forgotten.

The characters have a certain Fellini like enchantment; a man having lost his face, a

woman who will drop her leg, and the old one, the distraction of the family dinner party,

who eventually turns into a horse.

The scenography, designed by Janne Vasama and the lighting, created by Ainu Palmu,

fill the vast room with magically appearing and disappearing small stages. A set will

materialize in a cloudscape or on a window sill filled with crushed glass, on bedposters

and in a bathtub.

In Sidekicks every act carries a world of its on, a complete story, though only partially

revealed to the audience.

Sidekicks is a performance to its name in the sense that when watching the stories from

the point of view of a side person, the narrative takes another turn giving different


The text of Eira Virekoski has reminiscence of verse prose. The words of the characters

are repetitive and associative. They ask why is it that I am not enough or they do try to

reach out to one another.

The sketch like acts emerge far deeper in meaning than given at first impression,

when growing thick with meaningfulness through the text and expressions in movements.

The awkwardness of the family dinner and the depicting of fading love. The story of the

aging sinking ever deeper into a world of her own.

These could be stories told many a time before, but in Sidekicks they are approached from

such multiple angles that they come alive totally anew.

The circus acts elicit something more than pain to the longing in the characters.

Diamonds are being born under hard pressure

Daring acrobatics and equilibristics turn the Sidekicks sequences into surrealistic visions.

No movement seems like a random trick, but rather emerges from the character's inner

state of mind.

But all this would really feel like nothing much, if it were not for these, new paths finding

artists like Henna Kaikula, Ulla Raitio, Saku Makela and Milla Jarvinen.

Their composure of body, clarity of every facial expression and step taken, their sensitivity

and a supreme control in the theatre of thingness, depict a respectful picture of each


In the end the side persons come close, they touch, and that is not a messy melodrama.

That is a valuable moment.

MARIA SAKO 17.11.2016


Translation: Tuula Makela