The elixir of life is a mythical potion which, when ingested from a specific cup at a precise time, supposedly allows eternal youth to the individual who drinks it.
In ancient China, emperors have sought the elixir, Hindu scriptures mention ‘Amrit, the Nectar of Immortality,’ and in 18th century the elixir was on the lips of European nobility who yearned for life extension.
It seems the topic of youth and physical stamina has been on humanity’s agenda since the beginning of time, and now in Melbourne, it has resurged via Elixir, a contemporary circus performance, part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Created and performed by Thomas Gorham and Callan Harris, who play research scientists in a high tech laboratory, conducting trials of a new drug which is sure to invigorate and boost physical endurance in its test subjects. In this case, the guinea pigs who are administered the miracle drug are none other than the two doctors who have discovered it, and though highly unlikely in real life, it made for a clever performance.
The scientists are assisted by a female computer voice, instructing them with the steps which they are to take in the experimental process, i.e. physical exams, drug consumption, etc. The voice is also the thread which binds the vignettes – everything from a balancing act, to singing and sand painting on a light box – composing the show, and allows for a bit of comedy to pop up throughout the performance.
The strapping duo display their amazing and varied acrobatic talents, but they also feature their knack for physical comedy. Like actors from the silent film era, they manage to fall elegantly, display emotion through facial contortion and tumble across the stage effortlessly, all the while keeping in character.
There were little hiccups here and there during the performance, but they did not take away from the fact that the idea behind Elixir is very unique, the performance by Gorham and Harris is awe-inspiring, and at times even breathtaking. These two must have a secret stash of elixir somewhere, because their stamina is superhuman.
Head First Acrobats presents
created and performed by Thomas Gorham and Callan Harris
Venue: Gasworks Theatre | 21 Graham St, Albert Park VIC
Dates: 1 – 5 October 2013
Tickets: $23.00 – $18.00