By Ash Cottrell
If I’m being honest, The Vault, a temporary structure erected at the Queen Vic markets for the glorious, Melbourne Fringe Festival was somewhat difficult to find. Surprising, given it is a twenty-metre geodesic dome, constructed for outdoor performances. While I prefer the intricate design of the, Spiegeltent, I was suitably impressed by the grandeur of this cool new space. As a side note and complicating matters further, it was also one of those dreaded Melbourne nights where rain falls sideways hard and fast. Part of the fun, I suppose.
Luckily, being lost initially, did not take away from the joy and spectacle of, Head First Acrobatics’ glorious show, GODZ. I am unsurprised to learn that it was the recipient of the Melbourne Fringe People’s Choice Award in 2022. I don’t doubt that at this year’s festival, audiences will connect with this irreverent comedy/acrobatics extravaganza. I also think it is well placed for the vibrancy and energy of Melbourne Fringe.
First and foremost, the athleticism and expertise of the performers was exceptional and while I had expected acrobatics, I hadn’t counted on (although was presently surprised) by the partial nudity. The performers all possessed the kind of stage presence and comedic timing that a show like this needs to be really elevated past the impressive nature of the circus antics. The narrative backdrop, notably the story of the Greek Gods, was both engaging and appropriately homoerotic. Performed with expertise by, Thomas Gorham, Callan Harris, Jordan Twartz and Liam Dummer who showed not only stage presence but extraordinary talent and physical prowess. In short, I could watch this line-up all night.
What was primarily impressive about this show was how dynamic and visually engaging it was. The blocking incorporated levels and death-defying acts that dazzle and engage those of us who rarely venture off the ground. The costume design (when they did have clothes on), was expertly chosen and any prop that was used was incorporated with precision and absolute necessity. With respect to specifics, I was particularly impressed with one of the last costumes of the night, donned by the spectacular, Liam Dummer. Truth be told, I am a sucker for stilettos and sparkles. The music was also superb and the decision to incorporate some absolute bangers was incredibly well received by a group of people I can only assume were pop-culture enthusiasts.
While I think the storytelling itself needed a little finessing, I thought the themes of Ancient Greece and the various Gods, Cupid, Hercules and Dionysus were expertly intertwined. They also only incorporated the spoken word (with the exception of a voice over), every now and again and I would have been open to seeing this either wholly committed to – or not. With that said, I was profoundly impressed with this show and think it is in desperate need of a colossal audience.
The great thing is, GODZ is on at Melbourne Fringe, following a stint at Sydney Fringe until the 29th of this month. If you’re looking for a festive, fun night out, definitely consider buying a ticket to, GODZ. Just ensure you know where to find the venue before you venture out.