As we wait for the show to start, an audience member realises his seat is broken. He calls an attendant. The solution, it seems, is to move everyone in the row along one seat, so the unoccupied aisle seat be utilised. A kerfuffle ensues as the seats are reallocated.

Out of Chaos… Photo © Carnival Cinema

Then, the person whose seat has been commandeered turns up (we’ll call her Lisa) with only moments to go until the show starts. Lisa cheerfully informs the row of seat shufflers that this causes her no worries and that she will simply find another seat. There is not a hint of annoyance on her calm, happy face. Our eyes narrow at how unperturbed she is and, as we nod knowingly that she must not be from around here, Lisa sits and we are plunged into darkness.

Out of Chaos…, seen here in its world premiere, draws heavily on that most fluid of theatrical elements – light – and as the title suggests, the void from which the cast emerges to make a whole lot of evolution out of nothing, is made up of us. No-fuss-Lisa is, of course, in the show (although the pre-show snafu was, we think, not scripted). The way she handled seatgate seems to be pretty much how she and the rest of the troupe handle themselves throughout the entire production – without fuss. This is a fine concept if you’re moving seats, but an altogether different adventure if you’re moving bodies by flinging them across a stage, or throwing them up into a people-tower, or somersaulting them or catching them so they don’t fall on their heads and break more than their spirit.

Out of Chaos… Photo © Darcy Grant

The effortless way in which this fuss-free drama in three movements unfolds is something to behold. Darcy Grant created and directs this exposé of strength, flexibility and courage under duress. The appropriately named Ekrem Phoenix is our Maestro for the evening, and as composer, musician, sampler and tuxedo wearer, he is a figurative (and then literal) tower around which the action floats. He provides a rare opportunity to experience both a melodica and glockenspiel in the same show. Geoff Cobham’s design is faultless throughout and the use of magnetic Fresnel lenses is inspired.

There are frequent moments of perfect brilliance throughout the production, both conceptually and in execution. To our shame, the infrequent “quieter” moments, leave us jonesing for another vicarious adrenaline fix. As the physical tensions wax and wane, our reactions are being seriously challenged.

Hearing personally from the players in this gasp-inducing show is a masterstroke, but not every element is a hit. Perhaps due to our location, the singing bowls that get taken into the audience are a prop mostly lost on us, but neither this, nor a couple of imperfect leaps and prop timings, detract from the overall performance. A late start and early finish is the only disappointment here; we are greedy because we like being bowled over and Gravity & Other Myths are the masters of the astonishing.

Out of Chaos… is a spectacular exploration of circus and its relationship to order and chaos in our lives. When we recover our breath, we realise there’s a take-away lesson in addition to the entertainment value – and it’s fuss-free.

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