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Railed Brisbane Review @ Wonderland Festival 2019

Making the west wilder, Head First Acrobats have presented a dynamite new show, cleverly entitled ‘Railed’.

Performing as part of Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland Festival, the all-male circus troupe wowed and wooed audiences with tricks, comedy and entertaining death-defying acts.

Based in Melbourne, Head First Acrobats is made up of Cal Harris, Harley Timmermans, Adam McMahon and Anthony Joseph Saltalamacchia (AJ), and the group prides themselves on being regulars on the festival circuits; specialising in acrobatic entertainment. ‘Railed’ is their latest inventive spectacular aptly themed western, which showcases their many strengths and physical talents.

Essentially a finely chiselled circus performance with gymnastics, the entertainers combine skill and sexuality leaving audiences' hearts racing for more. Scenes play out like Clint Eastwood meeting Magic Mike and Mr Bean at a local saloon. Except in this story, the gang can juggle, tumble, flip and balance off objects on one hand.

In ‘Railed’, Head First Acrobats explore the ability of the human body and display high-class acrobatics. Housed in Vulcana Circus’ Stores Studio, the group have plenty of equipment to play around on and perfectly set the atmosphere of a smoky, rustic western saloon.

In fact, the whole performance is set to a swagger-like soundtrack with country beats well-suited for a strength and balance showdown. It’s hard not to groove and nod along to the cleverly-choreographed routines, which are jaw-dropping, to say the least.

While the group exhibits strong and cohesive ensemble work completely in sync with one another, each performer had an opportunity to defy gravity and bring their own set of skills to the table, rather, show.

Cal was a charismatic charmer, who ably climbed up, slid down, jumped and balanced on/with a standalone industrial ladder. With a cheeky grin, the contemporary circus artist performed hand-to-hand acrobatics and object balancing – even managing a handstand on top of a tower of unstable chairs.

Harley captivated on a Cyr wheel, circling around on all fours with precision core strength and on a very small stage space. He showed finesse in his abilities and later was a technical and artistic standout when he performed with aerial silks as a glittering unicorn.

Adam embraced elements of clowning and magic, with card and sleight of hand tricks. Not only was his comedy expressive, but he galloped around on stage in horse masks and costumes. He also juggled various items and highlighted his very impressive skills with a diabolo circus prop – tossing and moving the object with ease along its string.

Rounding out the team, AJ had a Billy The Kid persona and entertained with precise comic timing as an inebriated robber. He also flipped and balanced his way through the show with incredible strength, climbing on top of a three-person tower.

With these cowboys in charge, ‘Railed’ took audiences on a wild and crazy adventure. As overheard, the show is completely unexpected in a good way (especially when it comes to a love scene between a horse and a unicorn). Head First Acrobats are not only talented in circus and physical theatre, but they are hilarious storytellers bound to entertain.

One thing is for certain – ‘Railed’ will leave you on the right side of the tracks.

'Railed' is playing Brisbane Powerhouse until 1 December.

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