Having seen circus troupe Gravity & Other Myths perform Backbone at Melbourne Festival last year, there was much anticipation about seeing their debut show, A Simple Space, during its return season to Melbourne. While both shows exhibiting incredible creativity and skill, it's the absence of any elaborate concept and design that were present in Backbone that allows A Simple Space to blow you away.
The show is stripped off most props, lighting effects and other elements with only a black mat roughly four metres wide and six metres deep set up on stage. With our attention ultimately glued towards the seven acrobats, they work with the only thing that's left: each other. They demonstrate surprising feats on what the human body is capable of, through a variety of acts. At one point, one performer jumps on bodies lying on the floor, the gap getting bigger and bigger with each successive jump. The highlight though, comes during the 'swinging' act with two people swinging another between them by their hands and feet. The speed and various ways in which this is executed is almost beyond comprehension.
Intermixed with these acts is some friendly rivalry as the acrobats compete against each other in short challenges, like who can skip the fastest or how long it takes someone to solve a Rubicks Cube - but all come with an added twist that make it highly enjoyable to see what happens next.
Even with its minimal aesthetic, music still plays an integral role in this show with Elliot Zoerner composing some perfectly suited beats and rhythms to each act. Zoerner joins in a number of acts during the show but his body percussion is something that needs to be seen and heard. His placement on stage is a reminder that a show is made up of many people and not just the people on the stage.
What is great to see in Gravity & Other Myths that isn't often seen in
other circus or performance shows is the personalities that come
through and the camaraderie shared. While we are seeing a show,
there is a sincerity and openness present where it's very clear
that these people love what they do and are having a great time doing
it, which in turns allows the audience to enjoy the show even more.
A Simple Space is a simply marvellous circus show that entertains and engages you throughout. There's plenty here to make you laugh and be amazed by the talent on display in the unique style that Gravity & Other Myths is bringing to the world of circus.
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Season: until 14 January | Tues - Fri 7:00pm, Sat - Sun 8:00pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $30 - $36
Bookings: Arts Centre Melbourne
Main photo credit: Steve Ullathorne
Click here to read my interview with Gravity & Other Myths company member, Jascha Boyce.