By Chenoah Eljan
Crème de la Crème by Head First Acrobats is a perfect medley of acts in this year’s Fringe, deftly led by MC Cal Harris. As a whole the show is so polished its relaxed in the best way possible, the timing is punchy and the impressive tricks and physical feats are almost made to look effortless.
Harris’s casual charisma, no doubt well-honed during his years as a street performer, gets the audience on side from the get-go. He says with a cheeky grin “if you flash us, we won’t flash you”. Harris is funny and charming and able riff easily from rehearsed jokes to responsive banter.
First up Harris introduces professional circus performer Alanah Hill who comes out with hula hoops and a magnetic smile. Hill’s routine is both skilled and well-rehearsed. She is “on” at all times, even when a hoop gets flung off into the crowd she plays up to it with a mock scowl and cheeky wink whilst keeping her other five hoops moving. Hill makes twirling seven hula hoops whilst turning around, doing a handstand and all manner of other well-controlled positions look truly fun. All those of us who didn’t choose a career in hula hoops are left to seriously question our life choices.
Harris is followed by Gavin Starr who offers an amuse bouche of his own Fringe show Greece Lightning billed as “An overzealous idiot performs all of Greek mythology.” But Starr his no idiot, he is deliciously funny as he doles out wisecracks, one liners and dad jokes in a white tennis skirt and little else.
The third act is Head First Acrobat’s own Jordan Twartz, also performing at this year’s Fringe in GODZ alongside Harris, Thomas Gorham and Liam Dummer. Twartz comes out in knickers befitting a newsie with a Diabolo. Twartz too is at home on stage, as if playing with his toy in the privacy and comfort of his own backyard. Any parent who ever told their kids that playing with toys is a waste of time has to immediately eat their words.
Next up is Jessica Robbins on the aerial hoop. Her physique is impressive and her skills equally so. Robbins’s timing with her music queues are excellent as she makes one remarkable shape after another and smiles all the while. It is hard to believe she is doing all this right after performing a full hour of dancing and aerial in MATADOR sabor de amor on the same stage directly before Crème de la Crème.
The penultimate performer is Mr Finale Man (aka Thomas Gorham). Mr Finale Man has an accent that Gorham himself does not have. It’s a bit cringe, a bit 1998, and more than a bit unnecessary. Gorham doesn’t need a gimmick like a bad eastern European accent he wasn’t born with to make the audience laugh, he comes well prepared with a gimmick featuring something he was born with and that is truly hysterical. Also, he can do handstands.
Liam Dummer caps off the show with an outfit to die for of red sequined platform heels and a cabaret hat with a full-face fringe. Despite his bare bottom and long gloves, Dummer’s act is not intended to be sexy or titillating, it is more nerve-wracking than anything else. When he skilfully does a backflip in those towering shoes the audience can hear all the orthopaedic surgeons in the room collectively hold their breath. Dummer then does a series of spins suspended from a rope from the ceiling. The audience does not get a break from its fearful anticipation until Harris returns to bring the show to a close.
It appears likely that each performance of Crème de la Crème may feature different acts, offering a wonderful chef’s selection of the festival. All the more reason to see this show first and more than once!