A Simple Space, by Australian circus company Gravity and Other Myths returns to impress more audiences at the Fringe. It is an energetic and lighthearted production, in which performers throw each other around, jump impressive distances, and spend some quality time upside down to the general amazement of the audience.
“Simple” is an accurate description – of everything but the actual acrobatics and circus skills. The stage, lighting, and costumes are all basic. With no rigging, and little equipment, the show is all about group acrobatics, handstands, and other feats involving little to no equipment. Between this aesthetic simplicity and the casual attitude of the performers, it feels more like watching a group of friends hanging out playing games involving circus than watching a traditional circus show.
A lot of fun can be had trying to work out what the game is in each act, from the elimination round of standing back tucks to the strip skipping rope game that had more than one audience member shouting “take it off” (rest assured it remains child-friendly, if only just). The audience are also given opportunities for participation. Some lucky people (or unlucky, depending on how much you enjoy being teased by handstand artists) are dragged onstage for a lie-down for one act. Later, plastic balls are passed around, and everyone is invited to throw them at the performers.
A Simple Space is well-presented, and Gravity and Other Myths manage to make even the simplest tricks look spectacular. Their form isn’t always the cleanest, but that is in keeping with the casual aesthetic of the piece. The eight performers give the impression of being a close-knit group, and are obviously very comfortable with one another. It would have been nice to see a more-gender balanced ratio, as male performers outnumbered female three to one.
Seeing performers have fun with their art is inspiring in a completely different way than watching a perfectly polished show. It would be difficult not to have a good time watching A Simple Space; their playful spirit is infectious, and their talent awe-inspiring.