Gravity and Other Myths perform A Simple Space with such informality and good humour, even in the face of huge risks, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d just walked in on a group of reckless kids messing around in a backyard. That said, they’d have to be some pretty darn talented kids.
Home-grown circus troupe ‘Gravity and Other Myths’ return to Adelaide after a critically-acclaimed international tour with A Simple Space – a mix of acrobatics, traditional circus sideshows like balloon animal creation, larkish dares and challenges, and what can only be described as the world’s most psychotic form of dodgeball (the audience hurls plastic balls at the performers until they either fall out of their handstands or suffer some kind of internal damage, or both). Despite the eclectic mix and the novelty factor of many of their acts, the troupe are true to their name; they keep it clean and simple.
With only a small floor for the acrobats, a platform for the percussionist, a few Ikea-style lights that are operated by the performers and the occasional prop, the stage is kept clear and modest. While the show is undeniably circus-based, this minimalist set makes it clear that you shouldn’t expect elephants and clowns, although there’s plenty of clowning around.
The tricks and challenges enacted in A Simple Space will keep everyone on the edge, especially the performers. The fact that quite a few of the stunts fell on opening night had its pros and cons; on one hand, it’s always unfortunate to see someone fall in a show, but on the other, knowing that the stunts can and do go wrong builds suspense like nothing else can. If something can go wrong midway through the show, why not in the finale, where pooped performers are swinging each other like skipping ropes, mere inches from the next swinging pair? Luckily the finale, as well as most of the other routines, were performed without a collision or a fall despite a few close calls.
The troupe are truly jacks-of-all-trades, and this is what makes the show so special. It’s not just acrobatics, it’s not just balloons, it’s not just a man solving a Rubik’s Cube while balancing on his head – it’s all these things and more. With audience participation that, for once, won’t make you cringe and demonstrations of everything you’ve ever told a child not to try at home, A Simple Space definitely deserves a ‘space’ in your Fringe calendar.