Point & Flex Circus @ The Producers Bar
5:00pm, Sat 15 Mar 2014
A last-minute decision to see Temper was made based on my mood coming out of my previous show and a convenient time (one of the few remaining shows on my Shortlist that accommodated my plans for the rest of the evening). It certainly seemed like my choice would be vindicated when I arrived to a heaving crowd of people at Producers; my lateness afforded me the option of a seat in the second row (yay for single seats!), and an opportunity to check out the assembled crowd.
Lots of families with youngsters, I noted. Hmmm. Was this a kids’ circus performance? Because I wasn’t sure I was ready for that… but, then again, what notable circus performance would perform in the Producers Bar?
My hopes further plummeted when one young woman (girl?) quite deliberately – almost awkwardly – took her mark onstage and delivered the text of the show’s Fringe Guide précis; it felt like a terribly pretentious start, a desperate plea for sincerity. The opening routines also felt awkward, and I had started to rue my decision…
…but suddenly the show opened right up. Lisa Goldsworthy’s hoops routine was dynamic and well paced (though a few hoops did go flying into the audience), Taylor Dawson’s ball and stretch dance routine was fascinating in the confined space (unintended contact was made with equipment on the cramped stage), and Goldsworthy and (the impossibly young-looking) Dylan Phillips performed some balance tricks and acrobatics (with Phillips being flung around in a scarily carefree manner).
Sure, a few of the segments fell a little flat: the bottle walking didn’t quite reach the heights of the other segments, and the group juggling piece was a little bumpy. But (director) Marina Gellmann’s sideshow blockhead freakery – eating glass, laying on a bed of nails – was a surprise, and a seemingly innocuous marshmallow face-stuffing competition between the four performers escalated into a full-blown gross-out eating competition, featuring an onion, handfuls of margarine, bottles of soy sauce, and a bottle of shampoo.
It’s only late in the show that I managed to catch my breath; I’d been cheering and ooh-ing and aah-ing with the rest of the audience without even noticing. I’d been totally engrossed in the performance of these four youngsters, whose commitment to the show – and each other – was absolute; the rapport between the members was evident during the group scenes. And it’s only at the end of the performance that the troupe mention being Cirkidz alumni… and, (as with another graduate I saw this year), Point & Flex are wonderful ambassadors for that school.
A copy of the programme that I managed to snag on the way out provided names and illumination, as well as some well-weighted explanatory text; that, and some infectious buzzing from the rest of the crowd, left me with a remarkably positive memory of Temper. Despite the rocky start and a few hitches in the middle, this was an energetic and enthusiastic performance by a group of young adults that – I am sure – will blossom into greatness.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 15, 2014