Fringe review: A Simple Space

Seven acrobats joyfully tumble, leap and bound to live percussion in this stripped-back and fun performance in Gluttony’s The Octagon. ★★★ ½

Feb 24, 2020, updated Feb 24, 2020
Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Photo: Chris Herzfeld

Just like the Fringe, Adelaide-based circus troupe Gravity & Other Myths’ hour-long production A Simple Space is raw, playful and imperfect.

It’s beautiful in its minimalistic aesthetic, free of make-up, detailed sets or eccentric costumes. By removing the theatrical overlay, A Simple Space relies almost entirely on the performers’ skills and the ensemble’s collaborative efforts to carry off the performance.

The show begins with seven acrobats and an instrumentalist setting the rhythm and tone through a series of falling and catching patterns, with the performers highlighting their agility and drawing attention to the danger that could follow if any trick is mistimed.

During the course of A Simple Space, incredible moments of balance and trust are interwoven with audience participation, acrobatic solos, segments of body percussion and a game of strip skipping. Ensemble members take it in turns to operate lighting and incorporate sound design as one performer takes centre-stage and another catches their breath.

The tumbling, twirling, landing, catching, throwing and bounding of the acrobats has the audience entranced and provokes audible gasps, but it falls short in terms of a narrative string or characters to help the audience become fully absorbed in the production.

One trick in which the performers pass colourful balls to the audience also feels out of place, but the final minutes see the two female acrobats embody skipping ropes in an exhilarating sequence that shows the troupe’s power and flexibility.

A Simple Space will leave audiences marvelling at the skills of the performers, who seems to have a great deal of fun working together. In all it evokes a line from Dr Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

A Simple Space is playing at Gluttony until March 15.

See more Fringe and Festival stories and reviews here. 

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