Adelaide Fringe 2015
Ethereal creatures float, twist and writhe through balance and co-ordination, expression and humour. The shining body paint lifts the already impressive feats to make you gasp, laugh and applaud – and all in black light.
The diverse crowd queued politely, yet impatiently – eager to get inside and take in the broad, black stage – the ultraviolet lights exaggerating our white socks, t-shirts and teeth. When the house lights darkens to almost black, the only illumination is a glowing flower. We sense movement before we see it, and then one of the dark figures earns his stripes: the first daubs of body paint.
There is marvel at the reveal – one stripe at a time – of the creatures whose talents grow with each discovery: of capability; failure then success; humour; co-operation – even partnership. These stories are threaded through the four highly agile performers – jugglers, acrobats, dancers and one fabulous contortionist, who impossibly twists her body throughout the show, captivating the audience with her strength in balance, her sensuality in movement: in the blackness it’s as if she floats above the stage. There is great use of the low light in the blues and oranges of spinning hoops, bouncing balls and twirling clubs.
These talents are impressive enough, but then you realise that they’re juggling in the dark, somersaulting blind and falling from a trapeze without seeing the floor beneath them. Everyone in the audience is leaning forward – there is a gasp when tumbling performers skilfully stop before hitting the floor, or each other; there is laughter when a juggling routine becomes slapstick comedy – they are having fun with the possibilities of the black light; and the symmetry of a man and woman turning around, on and above each other, moving as one, is sometimes suggestive, even erotic – but always impressive. There is ample spontaneous applause that ripples from the seats with each feat that tops the last one.
What lifts their considerable talents higher is the body paint: quickly and superbly applied, this is part of the dance, an integral part of the stories of their evolution and exploration. The designs evolve magnificently, with colours and shapes that flex with the body, each performer transformed into whirling works of art before us. Equally excellent are the crew that (almost) seamlessly place and remove props, tie the aerial ribbons and support the performers – again, all in the dark.