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Streb Extreme Action - Time Machine - Adelaide, South Australia

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Adelaide is home to one of the largest annual arts festivals, with this weekend being the conclusion.


Entering the auditorium to see Streb Extreme Action, there was a voice-over running, which is Elizabeth Streb speaking, and/or another voice talking about her personal history in the arts. This dialogue was largely pointless, because as the audience grew in number, it just became part of the background noise you experience in a theatre before the show starts.


The lights dimmed and the curtains parted to reveal a rather large semi-circular device, with some young acrobats dressed in tight-fitting outfits, who began climbing upon this rocking prop, all the while yelling out positions. This consisted of standing, squatting, crouching, lying down, etc and announcing their next moves as if they couldn't see each other. As the semi-circular prop got to vertical, the whoops of the audience grew louder, as the apparent danger increased. With plenty of hand-holds on the prop and very thick crash mats, it was all perfectly safe. It was fairly standard tumbling, but the participants whooped and yelled as if they were doing something extra special.


Next the Streb Extreme Action group went through a few spots which drew inspiration from silent movie slapstick routines. Firstly a chap with a ladder on his shoulder who turns around and narrowly misses decapitating someone, except it wasn't a ladder it was a bar. When I first saw it, I thought "Ooh nice, Russian Bar"; I was disappointed. Also there was the falling wall with the open window trick, which Buster Keaton made famous, all performed to whoops and yells, ignoring the sublime nonchalance of Chaplin, Keaton etc.


We where then treated to some simple pole turning and two people walking on a 6" diameter pipe. The voice over mentioned that originally the latter was done on a hard floor. Now it is done on a thick mat, which makes it very easy indeed.


Finally came some trampoline, with all members of the company leaping high and landing on crash maps. Nothing we haven't seen many times before.


I felt it was trying to be Cirque du Soleil; it failed. On the cast sheet, the performers are billed as "Action Hero", in a typical over-hyped American attitude. Overall, I felt the performance was uninteresting. The opening spot was the best visually and it went downhill from there.

There was a Q&A with Ezliabeth Streb and the cast. Streb said something about music getting in the way of dance. What rubbish!


Link to cast sheet with a picture of the opening https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/digital-show-programs/time-machine-show-program/


I found the opener on youtube


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