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Left

★★★★

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt isn’t it? Left, the excellent new production from the Long Answers To Simple Questions circus company, reminds us that the kick we get from circus can come at a pretty steep physical price for the performers. Left’s narrative cleverly unfolds through a series of circus warm-up games, which are interspersed between the main acts.
 
It’s a large ensemble piece and each performer is celebrated as an important part of a complex working unit – collaboration and co-operation win over showboating in this production. That said, it seems like everyone can hoop, juggle and balance and they’re all gifted clowns. That makes it kinda different from the usual fare where individuals are spotlighted for unique talents.
 
The performers are affable and endearing – even before the show starts they’re wandering about happily chatting with the crowd - and while there’s no audience participation per se, the action’s close enough to make you flinch.
 
Largely, the show’s celebratory and uplifting, with the exception of an appropriately sombre part that considers performer injury (or possibly death) and the aftermath – for instance the high wire becomes an allegory for self-destruction during a period of grief. While that sounds pretty full on, it’s mostly super fun, high energy, fast-paced and laugh out loud funny. It’s just a shame that the death metal emanating from The Tote coincided with the show’s quieter moments.
 
BY MEG CRAWFORD

Left played as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.