What do you get if you take seven acrobats and 30 meters of rope? There’s no joke here, just a great circus show. Melbourne’s own contemporary circus company, One Fell Swoop is back at Gassworks Arts Park in Albert Park. Taking cues from other artistic Melbourne institutions such as Chunky Move, this show is as much about human movement and form as it is about acrobatic feats of strength and skill, which there are plenty.
The show’s premise seems simple, though the execution is anything but basic. A long rope hangs from the middle of the stage, between two pulleys. During the hour-long performance, this rope is used as a ladder, a swing, slack rope, human scales and much more. The actions of each acrobat have a trickle on effect with the other members of their team. Whether they are swinging from a rope, diving from high above the stage into their comrade’s arms, or walking on their hands upside down, the absolute trust between each acrobat is amazing to watch.
The skilled performers hoist and swing each other around high above the ground, with a balance of joy and risk. By a Thread takes classic acrobatic and circus techniques and performs them in an interesting and fresh way. The spectacular strength and skills to put on this show left us feeling quite exhausted and we have no doubt in our minds that a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears went into each acrobats training.
Using such a basic mechanism as the human body and a single rope on stage, One Fell Swoop have crafted a captivating show that is both moving and entertaining. There are only six performances this season so don’t miss out.
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him on your social media channel of choice @TomasZagoda.