fringe: tolu

adelaide fringe: tolu
Remember when you were a kid and you would walk home from school on a lazy Summer afternoon... and you might have stopped to look at something weird hanging from a tree.

Then a couple of other kids who you kind of know show up, and you just spend the rest of the afternoon playing, making new friends and maybe falling in love a little for the first time.

Tolu exists in the sun dappled afternoon.

The three performers, Jesse Scott, Abbey Church and Lachie MacAulay, in school uniforms and backpacks are as open, playful and innocent as school kids, and swing, tumble, jump and play with the same sense of abandon.

Before I go any further, I will say that this wasn't the show I was expecting... mostly because of the image that accompanies this post. And any of the other photos that I can find from Tolu... firstly it looks like it was an all male act and they're clearly not wearing school uniforms. So maybe when they got the 3:30 session, they decided to rework the show to take best advantage of it. I don't know... but at first I was actually a little disappointed and I still wonder how that other show was different and what, if anything, I missed out on.

But in any event, I got drawn into their world.

It's the first show I've seen where the female performer (Church) has acted as the base for the majority of the acrobatic tricks. And she does fantastic work... balancing the boys as though they were made of nothing more than air. She's helped in part because Scott and MacAulay seem much more... lithe, delicate, I know there's a word for it, but nothing sounds right. The boys are strong, agile and talented to be sure, but there was just a delicateness and something of a softness there that made Church as the base make complete sense.

And I know that this was at least 90% me projecting my own personal subtext onto the show... but, at least in part because of the physical natures of the boys, I felt like while there were a couple of points where the show inferred a "young love"/jealousy idea with Scott as the jealous party... and to me it felt like the love story was between the two boys.

Yes, I know, in all manner of art we project what we know and what we want to see but there was just a real sense of sweetness and tenderness there that felt like young gay love. Not enough, you know, to scare the straight folks and as I said most likely all in my own head. But maybe the other version of the show, with the three guys had even more of that kind of vibe.

The tricks themselves were fairly standard circus fair... The aerial straps, hula hoops, trapeze, skipping and a lot of tumbling and acrobatics with a little magic thrown in for good measure. What really set this show in its own unique category was the sweetness and gentleness of the performers and the way that made them approach those tricks.

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