Charles Luney Auditorium (St Margaret's College), Christchurch

09/09/2015 - 13/09/2015

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015

Production Details

Seven acrobats push their physical limits without reserve; this performance is simultaneously raw, frantic and delicate. Supported by driving live percussion and presented so intimately that you can feel the heat, hear every breath, and be immersed in every moment.

“Be prepared to have your breath taken away”

– Three Weeks

A Simple Space evokes real responses in audiences, something visceral rather than cerebral. Instead of fine-tuning the performance with makeup, lighting and contrived theatrical overlay, the cast have deliberately gone the opposite way. The audience is brought in close to surround the stripped back stage. In that space the acrobats are pushed to the physical limit, breaking down their usual guards and introducing the reality of failure and weakness. With nothing left to hide behind personal narratives come through naturally. This honesty is the essence behind A Simple Space.

“Stripped back and raw… an awe-inspiring display of strength, skill and creativity.”

 – The Advertiser

 Video clip: https://vimeo.com/116237210

Evening Performances
Box Office: 6.30pm
Doors Open: 7.00pm
Show Starts: 7.30pm
Lock Out: Yes – No entry once show begins
Interval: No
Show Finish: 8.30pmMatinee
Box Office: 1.00pm
Doors Open: 1.30pm 
Show Starts: 2pm
Lock Out: Yes – No entry once show begins
Interval: No
Show Finish: 3pm

Suitable 7+

Family Tickets available.
Family of 4 = 2 Adults + 2 Children or 1 Adult & 3 Children
Family of 5 = 2 Adults + 3 Children or 1 Adult & 4 Children
Family of 6 = 2 Adults + 4 Children or 1 Adult & 5 Children

Concession Tickets available for Seniors (65+), Students (must have valid ID) and Unwaged

Bookings: http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/Show.aspx?sh=ASIMPLE15#RI7slQ7ErWJpqxTK.99

Gravity & Other Myths (GOM) is a multi-award winning and well respected Australian acrobatics ensemble. The company creates engaging works of acrobatic art for touring, festivals and corporate clients. Formed in 2009 in Adelaide, South Australia, the ensemble creates and directs their own work with emphasis on an honest approach to performance, moving away from traditional circus and theatre models, towards a fusion of acrobatic physical theatre.

The company’s first work Freefall has toured extensively across regional and metropolitan Australia since its conception in 2009, receiving rave reviews and winning multiple awards including; Best Circus at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe, Tour Ready at the 2011 Adelaide Fringe and both Best Circus and Best Emerging Circus/Physical Theatre Performer at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe. Freefall was nominated for Pick of the Fringe at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe.

In 2013 Gravity & Other Myths Premiered their second work ‘A Simple Space’ at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival winning the weekly award for Best Circus and receiving a nomination for Best Circus Overall.

The Company continues to grow and evolve, pushing their physical and creative boundaries and striving for wide spread and unique performance opportunities.

Cirque-aerial-theatre ,

60 minutes

Exhilirating non-stop celebration of the human body

Review by Dr Ian Lochhead 10th Sep 2015

Imagine standing on your head – on a block of wood about 10 centimetres square – suspended on a steel rod about half a metre above the floor – while you move your arms and legs through the air – and then you are handed a Rubik’s cube, which you have to complete before you can return to your upright position.  Physical agility competing with mental agility, or just a plain nightmare?  In fact, this is a routine from A Simple Space, performed by Daniel Liddiard of Gravity and Other Myths, the Australian acrobatics ensemble currently appearing at the Christchurch Arts Festival.  This sequence is one of the quieter moments in a non-stop performance that leaves the audience breathless yet exhilarated at the conclusion of the hour-long show.  

The show’s title comes from the premise of stripping the performance of everything inessential and bringing the audience as close to the performance space as possible.  There are no spangled tights, just t-shirts and three quarter pants for the five men, shorts and black tops for the two women.  Lighting comes from standards at the four corners of the space and is switched on and off by members of the troupe.  Live music is provided by percussionist, Elliot Zoerner, who also performs a virtuoso riff using his own body as a percussive instrument. With the audience seated to the very edge of the performance space the show has a visceral immediacy as the acrobats perform seemingly impossible feats, muscles straining and lungs gasping for breath.  Yet paradoxically, such is the strength, skill and balance of these superbly drilled performers, that it is the grace and control of their movement that is the most impressive element.

The show opens with a sequence that establishes the mutual trust and collaboration that exists between the acrobats and that is essential to their performance.  One group of ‘fallers’ presents ever greater challenges to the other group of ‘catchers’, with the roles swapping and the falls becoming ever more perilous as the tightly choreographed sequence increases in tempo.  Friendly competition is also an essential component of the performance as the difficulty of moves is ramped up and one by one the acrobats are eliminated. There is an element of schoolyard rivalry here, but when, after   the entire cast performs repeated back flips until only one is left standing, the admiration and respect that the ‘winner’ is accorded by his colleagues is clear to see.  Interaction with the audience is also a feature of the show.  Cast members share their pleasure with us as a difficult sequence is deftly executed, but we are also invited to pelt them with plastic balls as they try to maintain handstands under this barrage of multi-coloured missiles.

It is, however, the aerial feats that remain most vividly in the memory.  Jascha Boyce performs with extraordinary balance and agility supported above colleagues who are themselves standing on the shoulders of those beneath them.   Rhiannon Cave-Walker’s precisely controlled movements as she shifts from one hand balance to another seem to defy what is humanly possible.  In the finale the two women literally take flight as they are flung through the air and caught in ever more daring moves.  We are left gasping at the seemingly boundless capacity of the human body to move beyond gravity’s constraints. 

A large audience of all ages rose to give this superb troupe of athletes a standing ovation, and they in turn waited to greet us and thank us for attending their performance as we left.  It was almost like leaving church, and we had indeed been participating in a kind of ritual celebrating the human body.


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