Sydney Fringe Festival: Crème de la Crème

Jackie McMillan
14th Sep 2023

COVID-19 was a tough time for everyone, and people working in performing arts sat at the sharp end of that dilemma. Crème de la Crème, a second show by Head First Acrobats for this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival, gives you a bit of insight into how Australian artists coped. Without audiences to feed off, and trapped in Melbourne in lockdown for 263 days, shit clearly got a little weird. Artists played with what was available. For Thomas Gorman that was his genitals. He’s also a talented breakdancer and acrobat. However a bunch of acts developed in isolation does not a show make, not without a cohesive narrative supported by the right musical score and solid joining sequences. Cal Harris does a decent job trying to knit it all together — his time as a street performer has taught him how to work audiences — but he saves his best work for Hercules in Godz, playing in the same venue later in the night.

Crème de la Crème is best described as a patchy one-hour variety show: but if you come in with that in mind, you’ll find pockets of light, enjoyable entertainment punctuated by the odd wry laugh. There’s a lot of crossover with Godz in terms of headline performers, like diablo star Jordan Twartz, though like Harris, Twartz does a more captivating performance in the later show. These regular cast members of Head First Acrobats are joined on stage by a bunch of up-and-coming artists trotting out standalone numbers using silks, juggling balls, hoops, lyra and, most notably, Roman rings. The younger performers, while talented in their given skill, lack the stagecraft that makes Godz so impressive. They rarely meet your eyes or play with the crowd members to develop excitement about seeing more. This will no doubt develop with more time on the stage, something the last three years has robbed them of.

Crème de la Crème ($44/person)  runs from 12 to 24 September in The Vault at The Entertainment Quarter.