One of the things that I love about Fringe shows is that you'll often see something that could best be described as a diamond in the rough... or possibly some sort of cookie dough.
It hasn't become all that it can be yet (it's not a diamond, it's not cookies), but it has that potential, shining for everyone to see just under the surface, and with a little time and a little love, you know it will get there.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that No Such Thing As Normal by the Off The Wall Troupe is cookie dough.
And that's not a bad thing. Not one of the performers is over 19, and they're all highly talented. They have a lot of time to perfect their act.
In a lot of ways they remind me of Gravity and Other Myths from last year's Fringe... or at least I can see them becoming like them in time.
Which isn't to say that they don't put on a good show and that there aren't a number of great moments... because there are.
The entire show "explores being a teenager in school through circus", so the performers are all dressed in school uniforms and the sequences are almost all instantly recognisable as things you go through as a teenager... going through whole conversations using only the words "yep, nup, dunno, kinda"... the awkwardness of first love... feeling like you don't know who you are.
There were really two stand out performers for me. And they're both in the image at the top of this post.
The first is the purple haired Jordan Pheasant-Kelly. He's the only boy in the troupe and acts as the very sturdy and solid base for the majority of the acrobatic tricks. He also has a wonderful, puppy-dog-like quality to his performance that was very endearing. And he was much more nimble and skilled on both the rope and the silks than you would think to look at him.
However the performance that stole the show, and to a slightly lesser extent, my heart, was the young lady with amazing comic timing, long braids and an unfortunate pair of crutches (there were only a couple of moments in the show that made it obvious where exactly she was missing from some of the group numbers, but it was a tiny bit disappointing not to get to see her doing more). I must apologise to her, because I've completely forgotten her name (Edit: Her name is Tara Silcock). And even the performer bios on their website didn't help.
She was so good, had all of the best lines (actually she was probably the person who spoke the most during the show) and was so funny and so much fun to watch that a number of times I found myself watching her instead of watching the acrobatics that I was supposed to be paying attention to. I'm not sure if she does it in every show, but watch her during the "sex education" sequence... she's hilarious!
And that amazing grin of hers... she really did make it very difficult to pull your attention away from her.
I loved her improvised lyrics to the tune of "Another Brick In The Wall" (which she was singing while playing the ukelele as we entered the tent)... I don't remember the exact lines, but given the roar of Clipsal cars a little too close for comfort, it was something along the lines of "we don't need no Clipsal bogans..."
And if you watch carefully, I think I saw her chew her way through two apples and a banana and a half during the course of the show.
The Off The Wall Troupe are definitely a group to keep your eye on... because sooner or later they're going to be cookies... or possibly a diamond... and I'd very much like to see them again when that's the case. Until then, there's nothing wrong with raw cookie dough!