fringe: by a thread

adelaide fringe: by a thread - one fell swoop circus
By A Thread is seven performers from One Fell Swoop Circus and a long, long length of white rope.

In essence the rope is the eighth performer in the show and changes moods and style along with the rest of the cast.

One of my favourite things about this show is that (almost) any time the rope is being held (or based) by any of the performers, they're on stage, where it can be seen. It becomes as much about the performers providing the support as it does the ones doing the tricks.

The other thing I really liked is that the women seem to act as bases as much as the men do, and conversely it's not just the women doing "pretty tricks"... sometimes it's the men doing pretty things and the women showing raw power. That always gets the thumbs up from me.

I did have the feeling that I'd seen at least a couple of the performers in other things, but I couldn't easily track down who was who or what they'd been in before.

It's an elegant show though, a beautiful show. From the choices of costumes and colours to a lot of the staging and a number of the tricks... it's at times ethereal and weightless. Other times it's bold and flashy. There was more than once where they introduced the rope into a trick I've seen in multiple other shows, which completely changed what happened. And a couple of interesting narrative moments. There are also a couple of "catch your breath" moments.

But I think that's the problem... there are only a couple of those moments. I know that I'm a little bit of a circus snob, but I also feel like I'm a little bit of a "connoisseur" (in inverted commas though) at this point, having seen a hell of a lot of circus acts over the years.

And while One Fell Swoop is very, very good... they're not outstanding. For the most part I was just content to clap, not gasp or hoot and holler like I've done for other shows.

There were a few times where what felt like they should have been relatively simple tricks didn't completely come together, or couldn't be maintained for more than a few seconds. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, they're at the end of their run, maybe they're not at their collective peaks, and it wasn't everything (mostly the tricks not being suspended from the rope), it was just every now and again. And this was the last show we're seeing this Fringe and it had been a long day, maybe I just wasn't feeling it.

If someone was going to see it and asked my opinion, I'd say that it was a beautiful show, and worth seeing, especially if your circus show experience is limited... but I'd probably also suggest at least three other circus shows that they should see after this one.

Don't get me wrong, they are very, very good... and I'll definitely be putting them on the "let's see what they do next" list, they just didn't blow my socks off this time around.

yani's rating: 3 white ropes out of 5

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