fringe: the displaced

adelaide fringe: the displaced - time in space circus
In 2016 I saw Total Nonstop Tricks by Time in Space Circus and I said, amongst other things:
I once described a circus troupe in a previous Fringe as cookie dough... they hadn't yet become what they ultimately would be, but with a little time and love, they would definitely get there.

Using the same analogy, and in the best possible way, Total Nonstop Tricks can most accurately be described as "ingredients". They're not quite at the cookie dough stage yet, let alone cookies, but all of the required elements are there, the recipe is solid, they just haven't gotten to where they need to be.
This is definitely an act I would go and see again, if only to watch them grow and develop into the, to use my earlier analogy, cookies I think they'll eventually become. And I do think they'll be good cookies, they're just not quite there yet.
I can now say that with their new show, The Displaced, they are cookies... and they're some of the best cookies I've experienced in a while.

Okay, enough of the cookie metaphor before I make myself hungry.

The difference between this group in 2016 and 2018 is staggering. I don't know whether it's just a general maturation of the performers or if someone stepped in a gave them a knowing nudge in the right direction, but in either case I'm glad it happened.

This is a significantly more mature show, and the control that was lacking in their first outing is on display in every single movement and expression here.

They're now sitting alongside shows like Fauna, Cadence and A Simple Space in my head... and for the first time since Bromance, I found myself getting affected emotionally by a physical theatre show.

It's also the first time in a long time, if ever, that I've seen an audience so spellbound by a circus show that the gaps between applause lasted for what seemed like minutes at a time. And I can only hope that it was because, like me, everyone was spellbound by the performances and didn't want to interrupt what we were witnessing.

Mark Longo is the backbone of the show as far as I'm concerned... I don't know if he ever actually leaves the stage for more than a few moments, he was even there as we all walked in... and I think it was his performance that touched me more than any of the others. There's just something about his mannerisms and the way he inhabits the character that I connected with, particularly his fascination with all of the other characters, but especially the juggler, Josh Croall. The duet, for want of a better word, that they do with Croall's juggling rings is stunningly beautiful. And Croall just pulls off spectacular tricks as though they were nothing.

Everyone here is playing a character, or at the very least evoking the traits of one, but it's Hamish McCourty who is definitely the comedian of the group, his interactions early in the show with Longo are both funny and beautiful, but he really shines in his undressing/dressing sequence. Also, I believe he composed all of the music (beyond the couple of existing tracks they use), which is impressive enough on it's own but his interactions in and around the piano are likewise very funny.

Amanda Lee and Dylan Phillps enter as a conjoined, eight limbed creature and do an eerie but beautiful routine on the hand canes before oozing back across the floor. The physical similarities between Lee and Phillips makes for some amazing visuals as does the alien way they enter and leave. The way that the other performers throw Phillips into the air during the whole show as though he weighs no more than a feather continues to be impressive and Lee does a trapeze piece later in the show that very much put me in mind of the power and energy of Enni-maria Lymi from Fauna.

In fact there are a number of influences that stood out to me, most notably the frenetic energy of Backbone by Gravity and Other Myths... and if you're going to take inspiration from anywhere, why not take it from one of the best.

Margot Mansfield and Jordan Hart are often the bases for tricks, which you wouldn't expect given how tiny Mansfield appears next to Hart, but she more than holds her own. Hart's character is single-minded and seems the most... broken, if that makes sense... or possibly he's just the most displaced, but it culminates in an amazing sequence between him and Mansfield. Hart trying to get back on his feet at one point is also incredible to watch.

This makes it sound as though the show is a series of individual scenes, and to some degree it is, but they overlap and mesh and meld in incredibly ways, more than once going from 0 to 60 in no time flat.

And it doesn't even matter that that hoop went flying to the side when it wasn't supposed to or that performer didn't quite make their balance at the top of that giant tower of people... those things happen in live theatre, and they're part of that kind of show.

This is absolutely the kind of show I could watch, leave and then turn around and go back and see again right away. And Time in Space Circus have proven that they're a force to be reckoned with, and they're also, if I may return to my original metaphor, really good cookies.

yani's rating: 5 juggling balls out of 5

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