Adelaide Fringe Festival & Photo Gallery: Elixir – The Peacock, Gluttony (Performances until 18th March)

The opening scene of Elixir has a zombie crawling along the stage with two guys wearing hazmat suits chasing him and dragging him of stage. At this point I was wondering what I got myself into. A robotic voice comes over the loudspeaker issuing instructions to the “doctors” who now appear on stage. It is obvious at this point, as their vital statistics are measured, that this is a show that doesn’t take itself seriously.

Before long, the rivalry between the three “doctors” increases and they are made to drink a special elixir that gives them extra strength (with some dubious side effects). Before you know it, they are doing back flips and climbing ladders that are not leaning against walls to outdo each other in strength.

The physical effort required to perform these acrobatics requires more elixir and a gradual removal of their uncomfortable clothing. The three guys spend most of the show stripped to the waist, much to the delight of the audience.

There are moments of pathos as the elixir causes unusual activity in some of them, but it does let them perform superhuman feats of endurance. There are tricks on the trapeze, the Cyr wheel and seesaw. This is genuine physical theatre, with no ropes and obviously painful skits at times.

Rohan, Tom and Cal have their own personalities and are very engaging with the audience. Like all good acts there is some audience participation as well. However, as the show goes on, the effects of the elixir become more pronounced until the frightening moment when Tom becomes a zombie.

Luckily all’s well that ends well and the show finishes on a high note. Elixir is a fast paced and funny show with plenty of eye candy from the three guys from Head First Acrobats. A definite must see for the Fringe.

Elixir plays at The Peacock at Gluttony until March 18th. We reviewed this performance on February 22nd.