By a Thread

One Fell Swoop By a ThreadThere’s a spool of rope coiled to one side, one end heading straight up to the ceiling as if raised there by a fakir. It runs across two pulleys, then away down and off.

The group – Ela Bartilomo, Luke Thomas, Ryan Darwin, Jonathan Morgan, Sarah Berrell, Piri Goodman, and Charice Rust – dash onstage, a parliament of hands pulling on one end of the rope in a lovely opening ritual, only to be undercut by a scream as another swings in from the wings. But, it’s not a scream of fear, but joy. It’s an exhilarating counterpoint and much like the show as a whole, you become aware of a tension between taut and relaxed.

There’s tricks, playing with symmetries, human bridges, a loose/tight rope walk and all the daring-do you could ever want (and some you didn’t know you wanted – some of the set pieces were surprising and remarkable). The risks they took were in the stunts, as well as in their storytelling.

Not afraid to play around, some of the most effective scenes were the more stylised ones, such as a magnificent circus-in-microcosm. Performed under a splendid extended mix of the Bojack Horseman theme, they tumbled small and moved rapidly through, around, and with each other.

It’s a bonnie, wee show, full of spectacle and heart. It reaffirms the idea that any rewarding endeavour between two or more people – whether romantic, in friendship, or acrobatic – begins and ends with true eye contact. Beautiful.

By a Thread
Gasworks Theatre – Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Performance: Wednesday 12 July 2017 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 16 July 2017

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Image: By a Thread – photo by Aaron Walker Photography

Review: David Collins