Adelaide Fringe 2015
Pants Down Circus enliven the usual acrobatics and balancing with a rock theme: the soundtrack is nearly as impressive as the wheel, ladder and double trapeze; the hits are literally in the rafters and the misses are played for laughs, mostly by the mulleted schoolboy-uniformed clown.
The evening sunlight streams through the knots in the wood, the smoke hangs in the air, and the audience sits uncomfortably on wooden benches. There are families, couples, and those catching the early show on the way home from the city. Then the music hits us loud, heavy – the lights surge and turn to the basic stage – and a thin man in a red schoolboy uniform and blonde, headbanded mullet struts onto stage, playing his inflatable guitar. It sets our expectations for the kind of humour that leaks from all of the performers – though pours from the clown, who can seize on a too-loud laugh or our poor clapping and sustain our laughter with just a look.
The four performers – two men and two women – are impressive, each with their own skills in acrobatics, balancing, the German wheel and trapeze, each having an opportunity to show their talents alone, and combined with the others. The acrobatics are impressive, and whilst some of the routines will be seen in many other venues across the city at the moment, none have the music of AC/DC, Queen, Aerosmith or Joan Jett. The balancing ladder is quite extraordinary, finding unexpected ways to go further, delighting the crowd; the exciting aerialist can essentially fly; and the woman in the wheel spins upright and not so upright, with total control – and makes it look easy.
The four performers entertain in the theme really well, complete with the right costumes: the black, the tartan; leather jackets and plenty of aviator sunglasses. There are some hiccups in the pace, particularly between a couple of the routines, and one or two of the set pieces don’t quite peak as they should – but these are minor distractions, and the good music, hilarious comedy and genuine talent more than make up for it: and these four know how to work the crowd.
There’s plenty to applaud here – and throughout the show, the audience seems to be either laughing or clapping – or laughing AND clapping. A great show for the end of the working day – it’s still light when the door swings open at the end of the show, so leaving here with a Fringe mindset imprinted by Pants Down Circus keeps us in the Garden a little longer than we planned…