It seems fitting that a show like ‘The Mirror’ would premiere at the Sydney Opera House. This was a visual spectacle performed by acrobatic troupe Gravity & Other Myths. The ten-strong group performed with a synchronicity and mastery typically associated with an experienced classical orchestra.
The show is directed by Darcy Grant and is an exploration of the human condition. A true multi-disciplinary experience, it even incorporates some live camera work, not unlike Sydney Theatre’s ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray.’
Initially we are introduced to composer, musician and singer, Ekrem Eli Phoenix. He offers us some music that straddles the lines between pop, electronica and more traditional cabaret stylings. Phoenix’s songs provide the emotive punctuation between the different vignettes. But the real heart and soul of this show belongs to the amazing acrobats.
The cast all have a strong background in the circus arts, and it shows in their effortless transitions and stunts. They are incredible athletes, and their physicality and strength is ever so graceful. The acrobats included co-founders: Jascha Boyce, Lachlan Binns and Martin Schreiber, who were joined by Joren Dawson, Simon McClure, Megan Giesbrecht, Lewis Rankin and Maya Tregonning. The youngest member, Dylan Phillips, is a real stand-out, he even manages to do a breakdance atop another cast member’s head at one point!
So much of what this troupe do is dazzling in and of itself. Yet somehow they manage to keep amping things up to eleven. Many of us would be impressed with someone standing on their hands or doing a back flip, but how they manage to do this while incorporating a human pyramid is out of this world.
Image © Daniel Boud
Balancing three people on your shoulder looks mighty difficult, and yet somehow these strong men and women do it while walking. The moves are so fluid, the performers make it look effortless as they do one head-jerking move after another.
Searching for one’s sense of self is always the main part of the show. While this may not be literal, there is certainly an exposition of LED lights and moving shadows that hint at those things we hide. The moves are extensions of a seemingly higher power, the acrobatics unparalleled to reality. It should come as no surprise that some of these acrobats have performed with Cirque du Soleil and other big-name circus productions.
One vignette in the show takes on a rather playful turn with a boy-meets-girl tale. Two acrobats play roles not dissimilar to ‘Moving People’ from ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’, meaning the other cast members manipulate the pair’s bodies into different configurations. This is a clever way of bringing some plot and theatrics to this high circus art, and one great spectacle.
In sum, ‘The Mirror’ will blow the minds of audience members who will sit back and wonder how. Through tight dips and flips, the group really do question our notions of gravity. This is a powerful performance and one dazzling array of human strength and endurance. We can all breathe out now.
'The Mirror' plays Sydney Opera House until 5 March.