Online Fringe 2020
From the very beginning, starting with the introduction to our four cowboys we have a railrod, far from straight, example of how circus skills have creatively adapted to our new theatrical reality. There are the standard set pieces expected of circus from balance on chairs to card tricks that don’t always go right, bottle balancing, juggling, the ladder and the hoop. They are presented here as if by a drunken troupe hiding out from the law which always ends up with the law outside, ready to come in… and when they do…
I loved this from beginning to end. In between was an Aussie romp of creativity with an incredible handle on how to present in a theatre. There is a loose narrative based upon their interrelationships which works exceptionally well. It’s macho high camp with all that paradox entails.
All 4 of our acrobat cowboys appear like a bunch of guys on a night out who are best avoided as they are too rough and tumble but their measured and acutely rehearsed routines sparkle.
The set pieces are tremendous and I would lay particular praise on the use of silks and the bottle sequence which was in its sense one of the easiest to perfect but boy did they sell it. I also loved the skipping and having one of their number unable to do it, added a layer of meaning showing clearly that they had due regard for how the whole thing was seen by an audience. It is that attention to detail that sells so well theatrically.
Even the card trick that went wrong was presented in a way that kept us on side. It did not go on too long and when the right card was found, the audience cheered – they were on his side even when it went wrong.
The four of them have a brilliant sense of each other and the interplay was exceptional. They knew how to get the audience on their side and also add some nods, winks and build a relationship that added to the whole experience.
Railed is a mixture of set pieces but the overwhelming warning is – don’t watch it with your kids. It could be argued that some of the jokes were crude to the point of offensive but the fact was that their subject matter, undermined by the high campness of the horses in particular made it not just undercut but hilarious; I shall never think of a horse and its accoutrements again without a whipped rose!
Performed in a Spiegletent at the Melbourne Festival and presented here as part of the Brighton fringe, this had the right environment with lighting effects – particularly the ricochet by lighting – highly effective and the music was spot on.
Across the world it was transmitted and here in Scotland on a lockdown Saturday night, I couldn’t think of a better night out/in. You can get them online – I really recommend that you should!