fringe: a simple space

adelaide fringe: a simple space
When you want physical theatre and circus done right, you go and see Gravity and Other Myths.

And given that this was the third time we've seen A Simple Space (first in 2013 then again last year) I can honestly say that they get better and better year after year.

This year's venue in The Garden, Vagabond, worked both for and against them. Against because they had to move all their gear in and completely rearrange the space before the performance. But for in that, just like the first time we saw the show, the front row of the audience (where we were) was right up against the performance space, albeit at chest level this time.

Returning were original members Lachlan Binns, Jascha Boyce, Martin Schreiber, Jacob Randell and musician Elliot Zoerner, as well as Simon McClure from the previous show... and they're joined this time around by Joanne Curry and Lachlan Harper. 

One of the things that sets Gravity and Other Myths apart from almost every other physical theatre group we've seen is their showmanship... they always make the audience feel like they're part of each trick. Whether that's through catching someone's eyes or a smile or a cheeky eyebrow raise before, during or after a trick, it's incredibly effective, and it's something that you just don't see in other troupes to the same level.

It's also clear that they all love each other to bits... which you would hope was the case in a show where they rely on each other to prevent serious injury or death, but the way they look at each other, behave with each other, they're clearly a family.

Add to that the fact that you hear the grunts and the effort that it takes to do what they do, but even when showing that effort it part of the trick, it never feels either false or like the trick is out of their control. And those moments of silence are the flip side of Zoerner's perfect use of music and rhythm... nowhere more brilliantly used than during the backflip contest.

I've gone on record before to say that Binns is my favourite of the cast but I have to say that the other Lachlan, Harper, may very well have stolen my attention this time around. Especially during the sequence where he leaps between the backs of Binns and Randell, and then leaps up onto chests and backs of all the boys. I was also sure he was going to win the backflip competition, that boy was made to flip through the air.

As I said before, they all improve on each subsequent visit and the show itself gets polished and refined and improved, sections replaced with new pieces but at the same time the core elements of the show remain.

And I would still give anything to be selected from the audience to lay under the hand canes while Curry does her routine over the heads of troupe and their selected guests.

My favourite sequence (other than anything where the boys get their shirts off) is still the one where Boyce and Binns perform on top of Schreiber, never touching the floor the whole way through... but really, picking any part of a Gravity and Other Myths show is a near impossibility... it quite literally doesn't get any better than this.

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