Out in front of the rest
By Myron My
Circus has been around for a long time – in fact, since the late 1700s in its ‘modern’ form – and with the same acts being performed world wide, it runs the risk of becoming repetitive. However, the show 3 Steps Ahead, created by Point & Flex Circus’ Taylor Dawson and Marina Gellmann, , has enough point of difference to ensure we remain entertained.
Using circus, sideshow, physical theatre and humour, Dawson and Gellmann compete against each other in a series of challenges, some of which require the audience to choose whether or not to help one of them win it. In between these, we are also entertained with more traditional forms of circus acts such as hoops, contortionism, juggling and even some nose drawing!
There is always a risk of things not going to plan when it comes to circus shows. A hula hoop might not go where it’s supposed to, a foot might not land where it should or a ball is thrown a little too high to get the right timing. There were a number of these mishaps in 3 Steps Ahead but Dawson and Gellmann retained their composure and the recoveries were always swift.
What sets 3 Steps Ahead apart from other circus performances is that the audience has a say the action and in what the order of those acts will be. So even though we will see all the same ones each show, the performers are never sure which act they will be doing next and the comfort of routine is thrown out the window.
Music was used successfully throughout, building on the suspense of “will they/won’t they” (make it) and the lighting work was incredibly sharp and precise. Just like the performers’ routine, these two aspects depended on what order the acts were decided upon and there was no noticeable moments where it felt like an error had been made.
Despite both being 18 years old, between them Dawson and Gellmann have almost 30 years experience in circus so it’s no surprise that Point & Flex’s show won Best Emerging Circus Performer at the Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards over the weekend.
3 Steps Ahead was performed at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.