Melbourne Fringe: Railed

Head First Acrobats Railed - photo by Frank PackerOut on the prairie, a cowpoke might have described penned cattle as “railed”. Despite the name, this Railed is very definitely not confined to being a typical circus offering.

We’ve seen Head First Acrobats previously in the showcase Circus-Cision and their own Elixir, which toured Australian festivals, winning best circus and physical theatre at 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

They’re back in the saddle with this (sorta) Western-themed offering. The Melbourne Fringe guide suggested that the piece incorporates Comedy (yes, from unexpected directions), Burlesque (yes, there’s some raunch out on the range), and Cabaret (not so much).

We began with our four performers, Cal Harris, Adam O’Connor McMahon, Anthony Joseph Saltalamacchia and Harley Timmermans making a getaway from a bank robbery. These desperadoes looked the part in their denim and bandanas.

Across the programme the audience were treated to some high-energy routines on circus apparatus such as Cyr wheel and ribbons, matched with tunes featuring twanging guitars, or more up-tempo numbers carefully selected to suit the show’s theme.

These gunslingers showed themselves adept at physical comedy, with some cheeky whip-play, a Diablo routine rather more amorous than is usual, tumbling, acrobatics, and some silly fight sections. The company certainly have a well-developed sense of the ridiculous, as some scenes veered off in unpredictable directions.

The hand-eye coordination on offer was particularly impressive. Also, our performers were no galloots when it came to presentation – they rotated the action so all punters around the circular stage had a good view. The show was well constructed, as shown by punchy acts with slick transitions between them.

A certain amount of sexually-overt horse-play suggests that the show mightn’t suit those looking for a family-friendly outing. (Aw shucks! But the company have Pirate Circus on offer for younger audiences.)

However, it is likely to give Fringe pilgrims an original view of the artform. Fit cowboys soaked in perspiration also showed that Railed makes good on its promise of being “Sizzling and sweaty Circus” – yeehah!

Wonderland Spiegeltent – The Paddock, Federation Square, Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 15 September 2019 – 7.00pm
Season continues to 25 September 2019
Information and Bookings:

Image: Thomas Gorham, Harley Timmermans, Cal Harris and Adam O’Connor McMahon – photo by Frank Packer

Review: Jason Whyte