Forget international celebrity performances; what the Adelaide Fringe is really about is showcasing the work of our humble city’s artists, to audiences who normally wouldn’t see it. And in my opinion, seeing local circus group Vertical Insanity’s show Hand In Hand is an excellent way to partake in this annual celebration of homegrown talent.
Six very talented twenty-something’s spend their sixty minutes onstage showing the audience how ‘hand in hand’, we humans are capable of anything, and how disconnect is our disadvantage, all through a variety of ball, hoops, and acrobatic tricks. The tight teamwork between this ensemble is endlessly evident, but especially so during the ball section highlighting their coordination and communication as a group, the blindfold section heightening the tricks and demonstrating trust, and an incredible moment where the group acts as a staircase for each other, building each other up and down, perfectly embodying the message of the show. Each group member got their own moment to shine, showcasing their own skills from swinging and juggling, to ping pong balling (you’ll know what I mean when you see it). The show had jaw-dropping moments of balance and counter balance in pairs and groups that you expect from circus shows, but Hand In Hand had some new tricks I’d never before seen, even as a seasoned circus-goer. In between acts, the show was smattered with sweet comedic interactions between the performers whose onstage personalities were endearing.
The show’s production elements were simple but effective. The troupe wore black shorts and white shirts, showing the dull shades of life without connection, and slowly integrated colour during the performance through the use of coloured balls, coloured blindfolds turned hair pieces, and coloured chalk dust that they ended up covered in by the end of the show from each other’s touch, showing the important positive impressions we can leave on one another. The music and lighting were also used well to set tone and create an enchanting atmosphere.
Overall, Vertical Insanity’s Hand In Hand is not a show that rides on sensational tricks and design as other circus productions can do, but instead thrives on its down to earth DIY vibe that makes the performers and their show that much more relatable to the audience. It’s a cute, colorful, playful piece of quirky circus that the whole family can genuinely enjoy, and feel good about seeing as it supports our fellow Radeladians in the face of national and international competition at this time of year.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Hand In Hand runs every night (except Monday’s) at 7pm at the Empyrean In Gluttony until the 17th of March. For further information and tickets, click here.
Thumbnail image from the Adelaide Fringe website.