Barbaroi is the first Fringe act I’ve seen this year that has no dialogue. It has no plainly set out story or plan that we as the audience are made aware of. However, it is oh so magnificent a show. Barbaroi is a circus themed performance, with dark undertones and an almost gritty feel to it. The entire show had an air of a story about it, the movements of each of the Barbaroi creating a story within itself.
The stage is shrouded in darkness as the audience enters, lit by a single flame before all performers take the stage in a dramatic entrance, highlighted by individual squares of spotlight. The acrobatic fashion in which they enter serve as a preview to the stunts the audience are about to witness.
The six members of the Barbaroi; Avan White, Stan Ricketson, Will Meager, Phoebe Carlson, Caz Walsh and Hazel Bock, are immensely talented, working as a well-oiled machine at times to pull off some of the most incredible feats of acrobatics that I’ve ever seen a human body do. The audience as a whole are kept on the edge of the seat for the entire night, with gasps and cries resounding as a body flies through the air, or drops from a rope.
Each member takes the stage in individual acts, demonstrating astounding strength and skill in their individual performances. Together the team work as one, doing the steps through what is a clearly well rehearsed and practiced routine. There is well-evidenced trust in their movements, relying upon each other to complete the show safely. This shines through clearly, enforcing the idea that the performance is about the Barbaroi as a whole, not individually.
If there were any stumbles or mistakes I didn’t notice: any fumbling moments were covered up with ease. The simplest of things – someone walking over bottles for example – have the audience on the edge of their seats, applauding wildly when she makes it over the last one. There are no lulls within the show; I couldn’t drag my eyes away from the stage at any point of the night. The only hardship may be trying to keep an eye on everyone at the same time so as to not miss out on a thing.
I would encourage anyone with a spare night to take the time to see this Fringe act, as a fledgling circus company I have no doubts their rise will be quick, and the opportunities to see them so intimately will decline.
Barbaroi is showing at the Gasworks Art Park until October 3rd. For more information and for tickets, head to the Melbourne Fringe Festival website.