Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Peacock at Gluttony. 19 Feb 2020
The Fringe typically presents scores of circus and physical theatre acts, but By A Thread is atypical and is a must-see!
By A Thread comprises seven artists – four women and three men, all slim, trim and terrific – and a single long white rope suspended between two large pulleys high above. There is a cushioned mat on the ground and no safety net. The setting is minimalist in the extreme, and the artists have only each other and the harshly illuminated rope to rely upon.
For nearly fifty minutes the artists have us in awe with what they can do with their bodies. There are dazzling displays of balance, strength, grace, poise and razor sharp precision in all of their aerial and ground routines. And there is emotion. The routines are performed against a sensitively designed and carefully constructed soundscape that begins and ends with some wistfully evocative solo piano music by Philip Glass, one of the greatest minimalist composers alive. But there is nothing minimalist in what the artists do. Each piece of music establishes the tone and ‘feel’ for each gymnastic vignette, and there is almost a sense of narrative that weaves through the entire performance.
Beginning and ending on the same piece of music is a nice touch. It’s as if the rope finally loops in on itself bringing everything to a close.
The one constant in the performance is the rope that the artists use to hoist themselves and each other through the air and to support them in their poetic, complex and dazzling choreographed manoeuvres.
The interplay between the artists is palpable. Of course they indicate to each other about their readiness to do particular things, but the communication is deeper than that. One senses trust and genuine affection (even romance!), tenderness and even joyful mischievousness!
In some sense, the whole event is like a visual symphony, a kinetic piece of art: there is structure and robustness; delicacy and gentleness; power and presence; intelligent interplay and counterpoint. Above all, it is passionate and visually exciting.
This is the last Adelaide Fringe festival this company will be participating in. So, do yourself a favour and experience their art before they leave. For the final time. This is no ordinary physical theatre.
When: 19 Feb to 15 Mar
Where: The Peacock at Gluttony