Adelaide Festival Review: Time Machine

FIFTY+SA Arts Reviewer, Dave Bradley, shares his thoughts on the exhilarating work of physics and force, Time Machine, for Adelaide Festival.

Founder Elizabeth Streb’s ‘Streb Extreme Action’ collective’s performance celebrates her career, and seeks to recreate some of the key SEA moments since their inception in 1985, in all their gravity-defying and anxiety-inducing glory.

Kicking off without much explanation (but it didn’t need any), this began with most of the nine-strong troupe of players atop a huge, hollow half-wheel, in which one of the gang moved backwards and forwards, causing those above to leap and contort in order to stay on. This set the tone: something seemingly so simple, and yet so complex (and potentially dangerous); oodles (and oodles) of energy and humour; and whoops, quick shouted orders and even shrieks among the bunch, as well as, amusingly, “California Roll!!!”

A wonderful slapstick sequence shortly afterwards had the performers dashing and falling (onto gym mats) as they attempted to avoid a huge stick, and this built up to a slightly terrifying nod to Buster Keaton. And, after that, it was almost a relief to see less risky tricks involving dancing and yelling in what must have been chalk dust.

The not-quite-one-hour, short-sharp-and-shiny show ended with the members setting up a giant trampoline (and more mats), as Streb herself is heard, again, discussing what we’re about to see. And then they started leaping up, down and off, and at times alone, or in groups, or against each other.

This was both completely delightful, and yet very scary once more, as individual Actioners frequently had to bounce, roll and run in order not to be hit by the rest. And yes, it went on, and on, and on – and it got better, and wilder, and funnier.

And you too should run and/or jump to Her Majesty’s Theatre before this Festival show’s very short season finishes!!!

Time Machine

until Sunday 17th of March

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

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