Using just one single spool of rope (measuring about 30 metres) via a pulley system to bind their level of trust within each other, the talented and dynamic circus squad from One Fell Swoop has put together a show that demonstrates acrobatic abilities at its prime.
Combining solo and group-based segments, we were treated to a non-narrative style of storytelling, where the squad took turns in exploring the relationship between trust and risk. Each member was seen to be wrapping and untangling themselves like a beautiful little gift, unravelling the dynamics and sheer agility possessed by their bodies to create a visual spectacle - all while (literally) hanging by a thread. They also mimicked the workings of a ship with an anchor, which kept getting dunked into the ocean and pulled back out to create a vivid display of the ultimate cause and effect motion.
There was a strong sense of representing a simple and minimalistic approach through their choices of costumes and props and it worked with their overall aesthetic, where the focus was primarily on their impressive movements and abilities to hold a plank mid-air, walk on the rope without so much as flinching and performed handstands, body flips, and aerials to leave the audiences in a state of awe for the entirety of the show.
While there is a level of precision and intricacy that was heavily apparent throughout the performance, the squad also showed their more fun side, by injecting a sense of mischievous playfulness, which made the performance seem upbeat, and uplifting (literally and metaphorically speaking). Perhaps the most memorable part of the performance would have to be the segment involving the performers with a handstand pose, as they used nothing but their toes to pass the rope along from one end of the stage to the next. It looked so simple, but to have perfectly executed it in a visually striking way left us on the edge of our seats the whole time.
This is a simple but beautiful circus performance that makes you feel a ton of emotions - not only from their eclectic and gravity-defying stunts of human strength but also the unspoken development of relationships and friendships that were forming right before our eyes. Coupled with just the right type of lighting to set the different moods taking over the stage, you are spoilt for choice, in term of the ways in which the squad entertain and enthral their audience. While some segments are repeated in multiples throughout the show, it still presents with plenty of moments that will make you gasp and leave you speechless.
Date attended: 22/02/2020 Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
By a Thread will be performed at Gluttony from February 14 - March 14, 2020, as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.
By A Thread is in its final year at Adelaide Fringe, but there are future projects in the work - full details can be found via the interview article with co-directors Jonathan Morgan and Charice Rust here.