Adelaide Fringe 2018 Review: By A Thread


Photo Credit: Adelaide Fringe Festival

What: By A Thread

Who: One Fell Swoop Circus

When: Until March 18

Where: The Peacock at Gluttony

Tickets: Full price $20.00-$30.00, Concession $28.00

Details available here


Upon entering the tent to see By A Thread the audience finds a long thick rope suspended above the stage by pulley sheaves, both ends hanging ominously, coiled like snakes resting on the floor. The entire show revolves around this length of rope, being the only prop utilised by six acrobats in the 40 minute performance.

Throughout the performance the way that the acrobats employ the rope examines a relationship between trust and play. Often, they intertwine their bodies with the rope, entirely dependent on their troupe to safely suspend them above the ground while they do gravity defying routines. The show heavily revolves around them being hoisted and swung around in the air, creating a visually spectacular display, as well as using one another’s weight on the rope to influence the motion and activity of the other acrobats. It consequently creates a visual representation of the famous theorem of ‘cause and effect’.

The show is a versatile one, with moments of comedic relief from the charismatic performers, undertones of charming romance whilst suspended, and even a segment that plays with the art of break-dancing. All the while, the rope was skilfully manipulated, constantly used and repurposed to great effect.

Highly commendable were the personalities that shone through the performers. In particular, one section where two acrobats used the rope as a swing while merely making gestures and dramatic facial expressions at the audience, solicited chuckles and applause in response. It was also impressive the way the troupe had the ability to elicit anxiety and create tension amongst the audience. I nervously clutched the edge of my seat, white knuckled throughout the show, especially when the performers would fall dramatically from great heights. In many instances, the acrobats would climb the rope, be wrapped up securely, then rapidly unravel, plummeting to the ground! At the last moment one of their strong limbs would be ‘magically’ entangled in the rope preventing them from harm.

The response from the greater audience was enthusiastic, and is also a great show to take children to. It is the final week of the Fringe Festival, so make the most of it and get some tickets!

Rachel Wong

3/5 stars

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