I Am The Boss

I Am The Boss Adelaide Fringe 2024

Adelaide Fringe. 0471 Acro Physical Theatre & Cluster Arts. The Bunker, Fool’s Paradise. 7 Mar 2024


Three performers introduce themselves to the audience by gesture, saying nothing. One woman, two men, the taller man plays at being uncoordinated in performing his forward roll. I suspect it fools no-one.


A great deal of latitude can be given to performers such as the Acro trio since their target audience is completely fixated on one thing and demand nothing else. Children from the age of 4 to 8 (or so) want to be entertained, they want fun. And they get it. The old routines reworked into new shows, the balancing acts, the feats of strength, the acrobatics, and the sinuous flexing of bodies as they contort and position. What these three do with their bodies is amazing. A pillow fight using the cushions from a sofa offer another opportunity for some audience participation, and the kids love it.


I Am The Boss paints a simple scene where the three are left at home with what appears to be strict instructions to clean house; the adults having departed in a revving of engine and squealing of tyres. This is the signal for so many things to go wrong, and the interest in cleaning cloths seems slightly absurd, but not to kids, I guess. The fact that feather dusters are offered to several children in audience participation – but only to little girls – is one of those things that irks me, an adult.


The Acro performers hail from Taiwan, and it may be some of their tropes miss the mark slightly; the fall guy, the clumsy guy is the odd-looking guy whose stock in trade expression is an open-mouthed gormless look. The slapstick is entirely slapstick and the music pantomime; for adult audiences it is nothing they haven’t seen before and overplayed. There’s the ‘I need a drink, who emptied the water bottle?’ routine, the ‘chase the mosquito’ routine, and various others from the time of Buster Keaton or The Three Stooges. And the kids love it.


The final routine involves a very large lollipop, and a young girl is brought onstage. As an idea to keep kids interested it is too drawn out, although she does get to be part of the act, spinning around the stage to everyone’s delight; when the lollipop is revealed as a prop (surprise!) with a very normal sized Chupa Chup within, the ten-year-old critic next to me opined that the little girl had been short-changed and deserved a big lollipop. Critics, eh?


As the kids filed out of The Bunker the three performers could be seen handing out lollipops to them all, so all’s well that ends well.


Alex Wheaton


When: 7 to 17 Mar

Where: The Bunker, Fool’s Paradise

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au