Asked to describe collectively the four shows that Head First Acrobats are bringing to Adelaide Fringe, the company’s director Thomas Gorham called them “a smorgasbord of circus and more for all persuasions”.
The company is bringing back its strictly adults only, multi-award-winning show GODZ and its similarly engaging wild west themed show Railed… But more on those two in a minute.
For kids aged three and up, PreHysterical Circus is just that – hysterical.
The show follows three foolish Neanderthals struggling to survive in the real world, who must work together to navigate treacherous environments including creepy animal boneyards and caves with terrifying tigers.
Expect slapstick comedy and jaw-dropping circus tricks in this Cirque de Soleil-meets-Flintstones outing, where the gasps and laughs come in quick succession.
Gorham also promises some audience interaction, with the Neanderthals making their way into the crowd. PreHysterical runs on weekends at 2pm.
This year, Head First Acrobats is also premiering a bubble-themed show at Adelaide Fringe.
Starring Dr Hubble, Brilliant Bubbles is no circus show. Instead, it promises to delight audiences with moments of pure brilliance that include exploding bubbles and much more.
Plus, the audience participation adds to a special part of the show that must be seen to be believed. Brilliant Bubbles runs on weekends at 11am.
This will be Head First Acrobats’ eleventh consecutive year at Adelaide Fringe, while the company has been touring fulltime since 2015.
Gorham said GODZ, Railed and PreHysterical “absolutely smashed it” at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and Brighton Fringe.
“I feel like the UK audiences have really similar tastes to Australian audiences; they really understand the comedy aspect of our shows,” Gorham said. GODZ is an alternative look at Ancient Greece through comical acrobatics, gravity-defying stunts and physical strength that defies belief.
It sounds tame enough until you factor in hot bodies, hedonism, adults only content and occasional nudity – and the show also delivers a raunchy and raucous, R-rated night out.
“[The audience response] we are always hoping for is something very joyful,” Gorham said of all the company’s shows.
“It feels great when you can improve people’s moods and they come out feeling joyful and energised.”
While GODZ takes place on Mount Olympus, the MA15+ rated Railed looks to the wild, wild west for its storyline.
The circus spectacular combines finely chiselled bodies, guaranteed to make any jaw drop, with Head First Acrobat’s trademark physical talents and hilarious comic timing.
Think bare-chested circus meets bare-knuckle bar fights as the hunky acrobats show off their skills with heart-stopping feats on-ground and mid-air.
As to be expected, the development process for each of Head First Acrobats’ circus shows is rigorous – yet surprisingly business-like – in its planning.
“We block out a length of time … and we’re in a space full-time, nine-to-five, writing and creating scenes, storyboarding and linking it all together,” Gorham explained.
For GODZ, the three months included performing the work-in-progress in front of friends to gain feedback, adjust and trim scenes, and ensure the constant stream of laughs and thrills up to the finale.
That said, Gorham was genuinely stumped when asked about the company’s secret for leaving an audience wanting more and returning to see the shows season after season.
“I don’t actually know what our secret sauce is – but whatever it is, it’s in there.”
All shows are playing in the The Vault in Fool’s Paradise at Victoria Square. Purchase tickets here.