Fringe Review: Gravity Boots & Friends
Smoke machines, musicians dressed as animals in suits, space helmets and long johns. That’s how the show opens and it doesn’t make much more sense from there! Gravity Boots is comprised of Adelaide born Michael Cleggett and James Lloyd-Smith, and Friends are musicians: Nathan Cox and Austin Harrison-Bray, and actors: Alyssa Mason and Matthew Barker. Their Adelaide Fringe show, Gravity Boots and Friends is a disjointed, nonsensical mish-mash of bizarre costumes, random outbursts, musical numbers, poetry and misplaced accents – and I loved it!
I am not sure if it was the clever use of ‘thought bulbs’ to tell each story, the weird characters or the energy that the troupe put into every second of every scene, but I found myself crying with laughter the whole way through! The whole production had a Theatre of The Absurd feel to it that Ionesco would have been proud of. Some scenes were a little bit Monty Python and others a little bit Adam Sandler but don’t worry, there weren’t many of those!
The small stage in the High Rollers Room at the rear of the Light Hotel was well-equipped to deal with the minimal set, sound and effects that Gravity Boots and Friends used to present their tales. A cabinet representing a ‘story-telling’ device was upstage centre and the musicians used this to switch ‘thought-bulbs’ to seamlessly change the scene from one wacky episode to the next.
Cleggett and Lloyd-Smith wore under-garments to which they added simple costuming to define and determine each character which, worked very well and kept the show moving at the same pace as the comedy. The audience spent very little time baffled by the last scene before they were launched into the next.
The very talented Cox on piano and Harrison-Bray on guitar provided accompaniment to the original songs in the show. The music was excellent but the lyrics were quite difficult to decipher, perhaps due to the unidentifiable accents or lack of microphones. This was possibly the only criticism about the production as the overall performance was slick, perfectly wacky and delightfully weird.
Watch out for the scenes with leopard and goat, and the one with the evil adopted children because they are absolute stand-out scenes, written with the maturity and intelligence of comedians twice the years of the Gravity Boots duo. Gravity Boots and Friends is a style of comedy that I feel has been missing from theatre for a while and I welcome it back and urge Adelaideans to support this home-grown theatre company and see this production in all its weirdness!
Performance on 26th February 2012, reviewed by Libby Parker.
The Light Hotel – High Rollers Room, 141 Currie St, Adelaide
25 Feb – 17 March, 8.30pm (except 27, 29 Feb and 5, 7, 12, 14 March)
The Comedy Mint, 8-10 Jetty Rd, Glenelg
Saturday 10th March, 7.30pm Book at FringeTix