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Review: Filament

Adelaide Fringe

Writer-director Joseph Pinzon weaves acrobatics, physical manipulation and circus feats with a sense of carnival and adolescent melodrama in Filament. ★★★★

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The show was first presented at a festival in the Czech Republic last year, and is having its Australian premiere at Fringe, offering a variation on the circus / physical theatre theme in a cluttered market.

It is a high-energy display that showcases the individual power and control of cast members with performances loosely connected by a narrative thread. If you are expecting a storyline with clarity, you will be disappointed, but there are the teenage themes of attraction, exploration and discovery, some betrayal and the inescapable “selfie” behaviour – all stereotypical and safe.

What is not safe, however, are the routines conducted on various trapeze apparatus. This is where Filament shines brightest and threatens to explode … the closest we get to a connection with the title.

With no shortage of wow factor, the audience is treated to dynamic displays of dexterity, at times breath-taking and always inescapable vision. Rings, swings and ribbons are complemented by balls, hula-hoops and a maypole.

This is a show to marvel at, visually and aurally. While dialogue is scant, the sound is vibrant and complements the physical skills on display. This is risky business.

The spotlight is sometimes softened though the complementary choreography of Paul McGill; at others times, the lighting design of Brian Kim lifts the intensity to breaking point.

The characters are anonymous yet recognisable with an odd sense of timelessness that transcends any single era. It is the collective expertise of the ensemble that carries this show, with no pretences of grandeur, but with the aim to astound and amaze.

Four stars

Filament is showing at the Royal Croquet Club until March 19.

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