Brighton Fringe 2018
Three sailors in search of treasure and personal validation go on a high-flying adventure while battling sea monsters, seafood allergies, and the fear of heights in this fun family-friendly Fringe gymnastic gymboree.
There’s an excited buzz in the sultry air as expectant circus lovers of all ages fill the seats at the brimming Bosco Tent. Finding family-friendly fun at the Fringe can sometimes be as stressful as the road trips that lead to children asking ‘are we there yet?’ but Head First Acrobats have delivered in the past and once again they do not disappoint.
If you’re looking for rip-roaring repartee and amazing aerial adventures with a hint of the absurd then look no further than this raucously rambunctious gymnastic jubilee.
Like any good adventure this show begins with introductions and exposition. This is a pirate show with a difference and from the outset we become an integral part of the tales of the three hapless sailors – the mischievous and misbehaving captain, a brawny but brainy sailor, and the chef come cabin boy – who are all vying for the Captain’s hat and a share of buried treasure. There is a lovely eccentricity to the plot but one which we embrace wholeheartedly as we are subjected to and included in a series of madcap escapades which combine traditional vaudeville comedy, dance routines, and heart-stopping swashbuckling antics.
But there is more to this show than just a series of startling physical feats. The three sailors, brilliant storytellers all, tell an engaging tale which helps to string together the jumps, spins, and falls, as well as brings a little clarity and direction to the journey of the show that the audience are taking with them. We are not asked to be a wall of spectators but rather an integral cog in the machinery of the story which effortlessly connects the set pieces we have come to expect. There is the always popular knife-throwing and juggling, as well as climbing the unsupported ladder, and the huge metal ring which spins around the auditorium like an out of control top throwing its rider back and forth as it goes.
The level of skills is impressive. Children and adults, veterans and newcomers alike, shouted out with joy and awe as the pirates performed. The inclusion of some wonderfully silly ballroom dancing was a welcome addition and served to provide a somewhat needed respite from the death-defying deeds of our piratical adventurers.
The show, at times, does seem, strangely enough, a little unbalanced with a little too much off-the-cuff interjecting and spur of the moment interacting but the company do a good job at keeping things moving along. Shakespeare this isn’t and there are many groan-worthy one-liners sprinkled liberally throughout the script so if high-brow intellectual engagement is what you’re looking for you should probably choose another option, but entertaining and energetic it is in bucketloads. There’s even some advice thrown in and it’s definitely worth remembering. If you see a knife and it’s flying at your face…catch it by the handle.
Whether you get a handle on this show or not, this is a masterclass in buffoonery, and a journey which you will most likely want to take again and again. You’ll find yourself asking not ‘are we there yet?’ but rather ‘did we get there already?’