Browse reviews

Adelaide Fringe 2011

Big Shoes To Fill: an exposé of a 50 ft. woman

Anna Lumb

Genre: Circus


The Bally @ Gluttony, cnr East Tce & GrenfellSt, Adelaide


Low Down

Anna (pocket rocket) Lumb is a petite circus performer playing with the proposition that she is a 50 foot woman (in 50’s comic book fashion). The story of a woman trying to fit in (literally) doesn’t really develop but provides a loose framework on which to hang some circus, dance and assorted physical shtick.



Her set is a miniature cardboard city and a long line of shoes like a river across the front of the very narrow performing area in The Bally, one of the tent-like venues inside the Gluttony precinct (the 80’s backyard alternative to the Garden). The whole premise that she is Godzilla-esque is, of course, unachievable but her child-like engagement with us, the audience, begs us to join in the game. It felt more like a street performance than a stage show in its non-linear progression from trick to gag and in Lumb’s larger than life characterisations. She is Gidget in gingham, one piece leotards and very large eyelashes.


The whole aesthetic is decidedly retro—the music, the shoes and the home slide show of “big” Australian landmarks. The big prawn, banana, stubbie and even cigarette are in themselves ridiculous, but a bit more improvised banter (or some writing) would make something more of these sections and perhaps even assist the transition into the next event.


There are some funny dance routines and some slick hoop work where Lumb comes alive, her animated face and sinewy physicality a treat to watch. It is her physical shtick that is her forte and her vocal delivery that needs work. Some of her gags fall a bit flat, which is in part to do with the timid vocals and in part to do with the underdeveloped script.


Lumb has a huge personality and clearly a lot more circus tricks than she demonstrated in this show. The Fringe format allows many artists to take risks and experiment in front of an audience, to find and develop the format that works for them. Lumb is a charming performer with a future worth supporting.