The phrase “on the edge of your seat” was invented for shows just like this. I spent the majority of the piece either praying that nobody would fall and/or die on stage, and cheering so hard that my throat became rather hoarse.
Elixir is a circus with a difference. And the difference is that there is a very cleverly told story. Often with circus shows, the stories hardly exist, or there is no effort put into the storytelling as a vehicle for the acrobatics. Elixir, however, did pay attention to the story and it pays off. While we are watching the gymnastics with our mouths open, we are also curious to see how the piece would end. Will they find the elixir to life? Who did they shoot and why?
This story – perhaps the beginning of a zombie film – starts with three acrobatic scientists trying to create the elixir of life. The bumbling scientists have accidents and playfully challenge each other to do stunts. They know their audience, they know how to play them and what they want. The scientists experiment on themselves and chaos ensues. This was more than just jokes and stunts; their acting and camaraderie felt so believable. At times I felt unsure if things were scripted or improvised. They dealt with hecklers really well and went on to use that later in the show.
From using giant hula hoops to climbing up freestanding ladders to flying five meters in the air to balancing each other on their heads, this show pushed all expectations of what circus can do, all while keeping us entertained with gags and physical comedy.
The three acrobats are from an Austrailian company called Head First. The Melbourne company provides world-class circus and is known for its physical theatre performances. This show, Elixir won the First and Foremost Entertainment award in its UK debut at Brighton Fringe 2015 and was voted in the top 10 shows of Adelaide Fringe in 2015.
This show was sexy, funny and skilful. If you havent seen it yet, go find tickets now.