Left is circus with substance

Mar 05, 2015

Left is a unique offering amid the popular physical-theatre genre that is becoming an increasingly prominent part of the Adelaide Fringe program.

Presented at Gluttony by Melbourne-based company Long Answers To Simple Questions, the award-winning performance holds up a thought-provoking mirror to society.

Left explores the idea of communities: the importance of building them, belonging to them and what it means when someone suddenly leaves or is lost. It is performed by a strong cast of seven, and there is a closeness among the group that quickly draws the audience into the performance. The sense of community is achieved with a playfulness that has us engaged and wanting to play.

The team members rely on each other and a series of games to perform acts with skill and fun, backed by an intense soundtrack of neo-prog music that adds a dimension of drama and builds tension throughout the performance. The cast fosters a false sense of security that this is a frivolous game among friends.

There is a sincerity and charm to the performance; the acts have a raw quality that makes the show accessible and endearing without being rough or unpolished. The humour and quirkiness will resonate with anyone who has felt part of a close-knit community, and there are some great game ideas for everyday life.

Using moments of silence to punctuate the lightheartedness, the performance builds to a heartbreaking stillness that you know is coming. The games change within the fractured group and the honesty of the inevitable can be felt both on stage and off. Without becoming too heavy, the performance is given a meaningful twist that adds substance to the show and sets it apart from the traditional circus’s sequence of tricks.

Left manages to bring back the mood so audiences walk out with an optimistic spring in their step, but with the satisfaction of having seen a show with substance.

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I was delighted to have finally found a physical-theatre show that is raw and authentic without being clumsy, and is lighthearted without being shallow.

Left is playing in the Lotus Palace, Gluttony, until March 15.

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