By a Thread is an exquisitely choreographed human poem of angles and shapes formed by the interplay between rope and limbs. During solo, pair and group gymnastic tricks, the performers manipulate the rope – the “thread” that binds them together – with two giant pulleys as they take turns to provide the counterweight that keeps their fellow members in the air.
Through a series of poised and powerful interactions the work explores trust and risk. Ensemble members Liam Dummer, Ellen Grow, Easa Min-Swe, Chanel Phelan, Latonya Wigginton and co-directors Jonathan Morgan and Charice Rust work together in a way that highlights not just their immense strength and technical prowess but their obvious connection.
The Melbourne-based group creates work that explores the dynamics between ensemble performers, showcasing theatre skills as well as circus skills.
“That doesn’t look very safe.” The on-stage comment gives voice to what we’ve all been thinking. The seven performers – all dressed simply in white and pale denim – might be moving with the delicate balance of ballet dancers, but as they hoist themselves skyward and dangle precariously it’s obvious that one missed grip or a moment of hesitation could easily result in someone falling from a great height onto the hard stage floor.
Surprisingly, for acrobatics, there are moments of meditative calm along with gentle touches and tender gazes as the performers support each other throughout the different routines. There’s a playful, joyful energy despite the high level of exertion on display. It’s a show with heart and a distinct visual style, delivering much more than a display of toned bodies testing the limits of physical capabilities.
If you haven’t caught By a Thread on its previous Adelaide Fringe visits, now’s your last chance – this year is its final trip to the festival.
By a Thread is showing at Gluttony (The Peacock) until March 15.
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