I am a child of communism. We didn’t have fancy playgrounds, expensive toys or lots of channels on the telly. Actually, we had one and cartoons were played only for 20 minutes before bedtime. Despite lack of kids’ entertainment, we were never bored. We mainly hanged about near the rubbish skip where the main attraction was the carpet hanger (trzepak). We tumbled forwards and backwards, jumped from one bar to another. Sometimes we fell and got few bruises, but we constantly pushed ourselves to the limits, as everyone wanted to be the King of The Carpet Hanger.
Gravity & Other Myths, an Australian circus group which opened 11th Freedom Festival in Hull, refreshed my childhood memories. A Simple Space presents a unique and modern approach to acrobatics and circus. No costumes, make-up, decorations or dispensable details. Just bare stage, surgical precision topped up with cheeky humour. The troupe presented series of breath-taking stunts, which sometimes made audience members cover their eyes and gasp in awe. Every so often I heard someone saying: I can’t take it anymore. Martin Schreiber, Lachlan Binns, Jacob Randell, Jascha Boyce, Lachlan Harper, Mieke Lizotte, Jackson Manson, Elliot Zoerner are fantastic acrobats whom you can’t not like. They are funny, enthusiastic and engaging. Sometimes I felt like I am their playground friend and I was itching to join in.
Do you remember ‘I’m falling’ game, when someone had to catch you before you hit the ground? Or when your parents swung you by your arms and legs, often banging your head on the wall? All stunts presented by Gravity & Other Myths were reminiscence of the childhood playground games, not always safe dares, at the end of which the winner would proudly announce their triumphant and the losers would have to accept the penalty. During one of the competitions three members of the group were challenging in the strip skipping contest. At some point we had two of them only in their underpants. Suddenly, I heard the woman on my left whispering excitedly to her friend: I hope he loses next (pointing at one of the guys). And he did. You should have seen her wide smile when he dropped his pants. Priceless.
For 60 minutes I sat in the front raw with my jaw dropped to the floor. I didn’t even dare blinking. I was overwhelmed and thrilled. I didn’t want it to finish, it was fresh, inspiring and not simple at all. My favourite moment was when I got invited to the stage to ‘help’ with another stunt. I was laid on the floor watching Mieke Lizotte doing awe-inspiring in quality acrobatics above my head. Different perspective, different experience. I’m glad the woman behind me was too scared to join in.
A Simple Space is remarkable performance that cannot be missed. It’s full of creativity, energy and skill. Make sure you see it.