Feathers fly in absurd circus
Picture: Facebook/3 is a Crowd

CIRCUS

Fright or Flight
3 is a Crowd
4 stars
Review: Kate Prendergast




The chicken dance has been taken to a whole new level.

Ingeniously hatched by fresh ensemble 3 is a Crowd, Fright or Flight is a contemporary circus which blends absurd comedy, idiosyncratic athletics and creative vim to mesmerize and delight an audience of all ages.

A physical comedy interbred with an avian poetic, the act somehow manages to unite all the squawking ungainliness of a frumpy, eggbound hen with spellbinding grace and pathos.

Playing out the surprisingly complex dramas of the coop against a superbly matched soundtrack, a bright-eyed sparrow becomes the butt of a crow’s private joke and an egg finds its feet. A peacock performs mock-burlesque crow puppetry and another boasts a party trick involving wine bottles, extreme coordination and (upon necessity) a fellow bird’s noggin.

Birds of more than a few feathers, the three performers are all extremely accomplished in their respective talents and gymnastics— whether it be going dub-step spastic or slipping silkily through the air near the tent’s canopy on high hoop and rope. The plucky troupe’s curiously tender embodiment of all the ridiculousness and magic of our sky-life is as rare as it is unexpected.

Keeping the circus tempo at a fleet-footed off-beat, the sequences are all timed to perfection, holding the audience in the constant state of agog. As the crowd streamed out, they gabbled their pleasure amongst themselves after a truly heart-jolting finale, which landed softly and exquisitely in a moment of grace. Or of special providence, I guess you could say.

Perfectly timed as it was, the gymnasts were topped in this category by a small girl in the audience, who— upon witnessing the calamitous fall of an egg—cried out into the silence a piping ‘uh oh!’

This Sunday is the last day of Perth Fringe for 2014, and if you’re looking for an hour of spectacularly inspired silliness, Fright or Flight is an out-of-the-blue experience not to be missed. Let it be known: this chicken comes first.

Fright or Flight is on until February 23.

The West Australian

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