Hollywood Fringe 2019
Run away and join the circus.
The Assistance League Theatre is not a typical Fringe venue. Neither is Cirque Du Giselle a typical Fringe show. Aeriform Arts (producers of last year’s hit Dorothy and Alice) present this ballet with added circus elements in the beautiful 328 seat theater that is a little off the beaten path, but well worth the trip.
Three sets of aerial silks are utilized by the troupe to good effect, there is also a trapeze, some stilt-walking, and bungees. The telling of the tale is pretty traditional otherwise with excellent some pas de deux (both terrestrial and air-borne) by the two leads Tamysen Malles and Tavi Stutz as Giselle and Albrecht. The thirteen-strong ensemble all seem to be fantastic dancers as well as aerialists. The transitions between the floor and the silks are seamless and motivated, like when a song arrives in a musical.
The skill on display is all the more impressive for seeming so effortless. Any sense of anxiety for the safety of the performers is soon dispelled as their artistry and precision reassure us that they are confident and comfortable.
Act One is set in a village square and the characters are all recognizably human, we see a love triangle take shape with tragic results. Then we are treated to the nice novelty of an intermission in an hour-long show. Act Two takes place in an eerie wood populated by The Wilis, disgruntled spirits who wish to avenge the betrayed Giselle.
I had some familiarity with the story (thanks to Matthew Bourne’s Giselle update, Highland Fling) and so was able to follow it, but the spectacle is so impressive that the show can be equally enjoyed without worrying too much about the plot. The costuming, make-up, projections and lighting all add up to a visually stunning production.
The Hollywood Fringe might not be the first place that ballet-lovers would look to satisfy their tastes, so I hope it is on their radar, it really should not be missed if that is your bag. Lovers of cirque skills will be equally impressed.