Brighton Fringe 2015
"Three acrobatic and enthusiastic scientists attempt to create the elixir of life. A unique mix of mayhem where handsome boys and incredible circus tricks meet with impeccable comic timing to make you laugh and smile"
So, it’s time to create an elixir of life. Now, that is a dangerous thing to do in a circus tent and the Bosco was packed with anticipation. Comedy beckoned and so did breathtaking acrobatics.
But never mind the acrobatics – not yet – not when there’s a zombie to deal with…
This is a show packed with action, fun, a bit of drama and plenty of comedic knockabout. Three very talented performers literally bounce off a sci-fi, robotic soundtrack of narrative and music as they imbibe strangely coloured liquids that become the opportunity for some varied circus and clownish set pieces. All three are natural clowns in different ways. Two are mostly the straight men, one the fool. All three had the audience whooping with delight, laughing and applauding.
Yes there is highly skilled acrobatics at the hear of Elixir. But there’s also some clever weaving in of a mock-scientific storyline to create an elixir through testing and experimentation. That adds something different and special to the hour. It builds and then comes full circle in the end. The audience rise to a standing ovation.
A lot of circus impresses with skills but the performers often have neutral mask faces or lack the theatre acting skills necessary to add charisma to the comedy and theatrical test tube. Not so Elixir. These guys have charisma in abundance but also are accomplished visual and vocal comedians. They banter well with the audience (Don’t sit in the front row if you are shy) and whip out a sight gag or a one liner with consummate ease.
The fourth wall is SO down in this show that it feels like a collaboration in places. These performers value and need our presence even as they present a story with sound and music.
The theatre part is the least impactful and serves as a supporting act to the comedy and the acrobatics. There’s scope to work the theatre inn a bit more creatively. At the moment it mostly serves as a link between set pieces. Also the chaos of the piece is not always designed and some of the links and episodes could be tighter. It works brilliantly when there’s a silent clown/silent movie feel – where music, circus, comedy and narratve all combine. And that happens quite a lot in Elixir.
But these are minor niggles in a show that demonstrates the fine comedy, performance and circus skills of three very talented young showmen, Elixir’s attempt to combine circus and theatre properly is to be congratulated. The show is a bit different in a good way and takes circus in an interesting direction. I’ve not seen sci-fi circus done before so it felt fresh, funny and fun, but also engaging. Highly recommended – one of the hottest tickets on the Fringe.