Following a loose storyline of a child’s surprise birthday party, “& I’ll Cry If I Want To”, showing at The Big Top in the Woodside Pleasure Garden, is a mixed bag of circus acrobatics, slapstick antics, and childhood party games.
Its trio of adult acrobats pretend to be children playing pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, and musical chairs.
Chaos and humour ensue from the inevitable power plays that occur at children’s parties: tussles for the parcel, a cake in the face, stealing someone else’s balloon.
The show’s strength is the acrobatic skills of the performers: they build human totem poles, stacking themselves upon each other to dizzying heights and balancing against each other at impossible angles, all without safety mats or harnesses.
The show could benefit from more dialogue, especially with the audience, as the transitions between acrobatic segments were at times quiet and awkward.
Music could also be used to greater interactive effect-the crowd seemed to perk up at the Vengaboys’ hit “We Like to Party” and also during the Mexican Hat dance.
One aspect of the show that was a bit unnerving was the repeated balloon popping.
The performers stomped and popped them intentionally at times, for supposed comic effect, and during one segment, a cascade of balloons was released across the stage and then popped in a distracting fashion as it came into contact with stage equipment.
It appeared unintentional, but the effect was distressing to a few children in the audience. If you or your child scares easily at sudden loud noises, be warned that it’s not for the faint of heart.
This Madhouse Circus’s second FRINGE WORLD show, after premiering in 2015 with “Illuminate”, an earnest and experimental circus show aimed at an adult audience. In “& I’ll Cry If I Want To”, the group is taking a more light-hearted approach to the circus arts.
Adding more audience interaction and letting the acrobatic elements take centre stage, the show is on its way to delighting both young and old.