By A Thread

By A Thread Adelaide Fringe 2019Adelaide Fringe. The Peacock at Gluttony. One Fell Swoop Circus. 15 Mar 2019


By A Thread is the creation of One Fell Swoop Circus. The show’s title is inspired by a single prop; a “Long spool of white rope run through pulley sheaves”, suspended high above the audiences head.

This apparatus provides a catalyst for a demonstration of cause and effect which is supposed to explore the relationship between trust and play.


It is an intimate venue. Lighting by After Dark Theatre creates a dramatic effect. Spotlights cut sharply through the lightly dusted atmosphere. The single strand of pure white rope which hangs from the top of Gluttony’s The Peacock, is illuminated by a single sharp beam all the way to its coiled mass on the floor. The anticipation builds; despite the show getting underway nearly a full 30 minutes late.


The ensemble performers – Sam Adlham, Ryan Darwin, Sarah Gray, Ellen Grow, Alyssa Moore, Jonathan Morgan, Charice Rust, and Latonya Wigginton – approach the rope, at first cautiously, as if it were a thing to be feared. The performance promises to be something more than just circus acrobatics.

For almost 50 minutes this talented gang of highly trained aerialists and acrobats find all manner of ways to use the rope, and each other to slip, swing, leap, fly, twist, spin, and dance through the air and across the floor. The ethereal soundscape created by Lee Stout perfectly underscores the action. There is a lot of talent on show.


But it is the narrative context of this production which is held together ‘by a thread’.

The show contains a solid 20 minutes of high octane, impressive tricks. The rest feels more like filler. Like a warm up. There is a lot of repetition.

On further reading one discovers that the directors created the work with the aim of adding a new dimension to how audiences understand acrobatic relationships. To show the parallels these relationships draw to everyday human interaction, and to explore play, risk and trust. It just does not translate.


The performers are having fun. Their more impressive tricks garner worthy applause. There is no doubt about their talent. But the vehicle on which this show is built needs further development and direction.


Paul Rodda

3 Stars


When: 15 to 17 Mar

Where: The Peacock at Gluttony