While a huge forestage accommodated a host of artists of trapeze, tissu, hoop, web, stilts, acrobatics, juggling, mime, song and much more, a towering proscenium set reproduced a railway station mutating from its Victorian origins and British India to the Orient Express and on to the present Sydney Rail timetable delays, the fear of unattended bags and, above all, rail crashes.
All of this was accompanied by a gaggle of historically asynchronous recorded pop songs that one way or another suggested trains. But no matter in a show as happily impressionistic as this in which every beat and image is an opportunity to release the body from the thrall of gravity.
Tiny children filled the stage en masse, hoisting themselves unselfconsciously aloft with rough agility while older students and practiced professionals displayed poise and took risks. Among the standouts were Scott Walker and Tanya Richards in duo tissu in the Melodrama Station scene and, in British India Markets, Megan Bolton on handstand bars, Heidi Holmes and Elli Huber on tissu and again, on spanish web, Richards and Walker.
It was fascinating to watch a show that time-travelled the history of railway travel to reveal that its pleasures and anxieties haven't changed a lot, and nor have the ancient circus arts lovingly preserved and passed on here.
Aerialize, Off the Rails, producer, director Sha McGovern, co-directors Bel Macedone, Leanne Kelly, script Rebecca Conroy, lighting Dave Ferguson, set design James Browne, The Great Hall, Addison Rd, Marrickville, Sydney, Sept 21-23, www.aerialize.com.au
RealTime issue #82 Dec-Jan 2007 pg. online
© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to firstname.lastname@example.org