Le Aerial is a display of aerial tricks and dance by Aerial Artists Australia, an Adelaide-based group and school that teaches dance and contortion-based movement. The show, which involved a number of impressive acts, like a flying pole, silks, chains, a cage and even a strange number on a bicycle, promised "a spectacular display of aerial grace and beauty”. But it fell well short of the mark, if you'll pardon the pun.
On paper, it should be guaranteed success. But somehow it consistently failed to engage the audience and enchant through visual storytelling. Located in the large Apollo Theatre, we were seated in a high-up perch, far away from the stage. There was no sense of meaning to any of the acts, musical choices or creative decisions behind the show. It was one number after the other, most often backed by a man singing to a karaoke-style backing track. It was a relief when a track replaced him, because honestly he completely distracted from the otherwise impressive performers.
There were two stand-out performances which were head and shoulders above the rest. The numbers by Alex, especially on the flying pole, and a doubles act by Ally and Gemma which felt like a fierce snippet from Mortal Combat. And while every performer on that stage was strong and athletic, the majority of numbers really needed a polish. Whether it was out of sync tumbling on silks, or ill-developed props (a neon sign reading ‘HOUND DOG’ and a stuffed toy on a leash), or a motorbike traveling all of ten meters to drop off a performer, this show really needs to go back to the drawing-board, strip things back to basics and rebuild from there.
If there is to be a 2019 season for Le Aerial, let it dedicate itself to its performers and their artistry. But due to lack of cohesion, inappropriate music choice and disconnection from the audience, I can’t bring myself to recommend this year's show.