Thursday, 4 January 2018

A Simple Space, Jan 3, 2018 ****1/2

By Gravity & Other Myths
At Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, until Jan 14, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ****1/2

Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Thurs Jan 4, 2018 & later in print (poss Jan 5). KH
A Simple Space  (NOT Melbourne cast)-Triton Tunis-Mitchell (bottom), Jascha Boyce (top), Martin Schreiber (bottom), Jacob Randell (top), Lachlan Binns (floor) pic by Steve Ullathorne

A show must be startlingly special for an entire audience to leap to its feet for a standing ovation, and so it is with A Simple Space, an intimate, mischievous and youthful, acrobatic performance.

Seven acrobats (Jacob Randall, Lachy Binns, Martin Schreiber, Alice Muntz, Mieke Lizotte, Lachlan Harper and a musician (Elliot Zoerner) perform on a small, rectangular space, with no trappings, fancy costumes or complicated design, just very bendy, muscular bodies climbing and balancing atop each other, and tossing one another around.

Every routine incorporates elements of risk, strength, trust and playfulness, from the opening series of falling and catching, to the stack of acrobats in a human tower, and an extraordinary, slow, three-person adagio balancing act.

Three lads do a funny and skilful ‘strip skip’ that entails lightning-speed rope skipping where the penalty for tripping is removing an item of clothing. Yep, someone is naked by the end.

There are inventive handstand routines, with one involving everyone trying to hold their breath longer than one acrobat can sustain a handstand. The handstander wins.

Audience members join the cast on stage, lying on the floor while a woman steps, like a tiny bird, over their hands and chests, then, later, the crowd pounds the performers with plastic balls until all the acrobats tumble to the ground.

The performers build in recovery pauses during which their laboured breathing is audible and their exhilaration and delight in their work is palpable.

Musician, Zoerner, wins the crowd with his remarkable body percussion that leaves his chest reddened from slapping and pounding.

In a final, alarming routine, the company brings new meaning to the term ‘Skipping Girl’ when the men swing the two, tiny women, tossing them from hand to hand and skipping them like rope.

A Simple Space celebrates the body and the cheerful competition and collaboration of the ensemble, and their cheeky complicity with the audience who are eating out of their hands by the end of this hour-long show.

By Kate Herbert

Cast for Melbourne season:

Jacob Randall - Adelaide
Lachy Binns - Adelaide
Martin Schreiber - Adelaide
Elliot Zoerner - Adelaide 
Jackson Manson - Tangambalanga, Vic
Alice Muntz - Albury, NSW
Mieke Lizotte - Devonport, Tas
Lachlan Harper - Armidale, NSW

Triton Tunis-Mitchell, Jascha Boyce, Lachlan Binns, Jacob Randell,  Martin Schreiber and Elliot Zoerner (Composer)

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