"There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying," according to Douglas Adams. "The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss." Coming to London as part of the E4 Udderbelly season, Australia's contemporary circus company ThisSideUp present the Controlled Falling Project, a sideways jump into the 1930s world of Professor Archimedes and his three athletic assistants.
Stepping inside the lab, we find the Professor and his team are conducting experiments into the nature of gravity using a mad array of props including a teeter board, a see-saw and a Heath Robinson-style bike-controlled lamp. The acrobatic aides warm up with some impressive gymnastics before moving onto more complex gravity-defying feats including a human totem-pole, a spinning gyroscope and a leaning skyscraper using a mixture of bodies and chairs. Like the Fibonacci sequence scrawled on the Professor’s black board, the performers build on previous acts to show new, more impressive ways to thumb their noses at Newton and his apple.
Special mention must go to the music which is a mixture of the Professor’s live drums - which he uses to both choreograph his assistants and to build up the drama - and pre-recorded electic choices including funky found sound artists (e.g. DJ Shadow) and Parisian chanson.
These performers may not strictly be breaking the law of gravity but they may want to keep an eye out for the science police. If there is a knack to flying, these guys are on the way to learning it.
The Controlled Falling Project can be seen at the Underbelly until 10 June. Tickets are available here.