Monday 16 September 2019

Railed - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Four cowboys hole themselves up in a saloon in the Wild Wild West after a successful bank robbery. The celebrations get rowdier and more outrageous as their drinking continues and when your four gang members just happen to be highly accomplished circus performers you never quite know what they're going to do next. Railed is an exhilarating and unpredictable ride of acrobatics and strength with generous doses of laughter presented by Head First Acrobats. 

The show remains grounded in comedy while showcasing the troupe's talents and skills with acts like Harley Timmerman on the cyr wheel and Cal Harris and his incredible acrobatics on a free-standing ladder. AJ Saltalamacchia is hugely entertaining as the inebriated and stumbling robber, getting himself into strife with the other three members. The more these men drink, the more weird shit becomes, including the appearance of a flirtatious horse (Adam O’Connor-McMahon) in search of his unicorn.

Music is integral to Railed with a Western-heavy inspired soundtrack that supports the action and the acts. However, the incorporation of Ginuwines "Pony" performed by O’Connor-McMahon as the horse with the other three men serving as the sexy back-up dancers is pure delight. The lighting and sound also contribute to the suspense in the performances and in the narrative as gun fights and explosions begin to take place. 

Showing male affection and even flirtation between men is not something you see frequently in circus or comedy. The fact that these four cowboys can express intimacy and tenderness with each other without having their sexuality challenged or questioned is refreshing to see. Their tribute to Brokeback Mountain is a great moment in highlighting how male aggression can often be a misguided way of trying to hide male affection. 

You would be hard-pressed to find a circus show that leaves its mark on you the way that Railed does. The ability that Head First Acrobats have in bringing genuine laughs to audiences while performing very challenging acts is proof that they are leading the pack when it comes to the ever-growing circus scene. 

Click here for my interview with Head First Acrobats' Thomas Gorham.


Venue: Wonderland Spiegeltent, Fed Square, The Paddock, Melbourne.
12 - 25 September | Tues - Sun 7:00pm
60 minutes 
$39 Full | $37 Group 4+ | $35 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

Image Credit: John Goodridge

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