Elixir: suggestive circus wows Wonderland
Fran Gibson | On 05, Dec 2018
Did someone say smouldering, suggestive, somersaulting, sultry, subversive, sci-fi circus?
Alright, that’s enough sibilance. But go easy on me: unlike Cal, Rowan, and Thomas, the stars of Elixir, I can’t balance on my head, on a trapeze suspended mid-air, look-mum-no-hands, (Mum quietly faints in a corner). Wordplay’s my only party trick.
A headstand on a trapeze is not the boys’ only party trick; nor is it the only F you, Gravity! on display. The talented trio serve up a smorgasbord of physical feats and acrobatic achievements. You’ll never look at a ladder in the same way again.
So far, so international gymnastics (minus the ladder). But have you ever watched a gym competition and laughed?
Elixir’s success lies in being a narrative, comedy driven circus. The stunts are in the context of three especially ripped scientists dabbling in self-experimentation. With each new elixir downed (geddit?), their powers are enhanced and hilarity ensues. What’s the worst that could happen?
The storyline allows the three – all graduates from the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne – to show off other skills: dancing (stripping is dancing), acting, clowning around, complemented by light and sound design. Yes, they do street performances, but they’re playing in the big league now.
The drama is such that my companion – apparently not a fan of horror or immersive theatre – warned, ‘If they sneak behind us, I’m going to punch them’.
Fortunately for all concerned they did not sneak behind us. The same can’t be said of the rows surrounding the apron stage. Elixir makes demands of its audience. Even if you’re not seated within spitting distance of the action (not a turn of phrase here), prepare to interact with the acrobats: this is slutty circus, not the Ring Cycle. The performers bring their A game and we’ll all have a better time if the audience do likewise.
Elixir presented by Head First Acrobats ran 29 Nov – 1 Dec at Brisbane Powerhouse as part of Wonderland 2018. According to the show’s creator Thomas, after performing it for several years, it is likely to be retired.