Zombie apocalypse comedy, circus and acrobatics show comes to London

Australian acrobatic trio head First Acrobatics bring their award-winning comedy and circus show, Elixir, to London’s Underbelly Festival this June.

Elixir is about three scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life and instead create a zombie apocalypse.

The show won the the Best Circus and Physical Theatre Award at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe, and was singled out for special praise by Fringe ambassador Courtney Act earlier this year.

Co-director and performer Thomas Gorham, 30, said: “It was my graduation piece for my degree at National Institute of Circus Arts where I played a zombie. Then we made it a three-people routine, with my two friends Rowan and Cal.

“We took a lot of inspiration from things that are already out there like the zombies from Resident Evil and Frankenstein’s monster, but everything about it we created it together.”

Fellow co-directors, Rowan Thomas, 28, and Cal Harris, 25, also trained at the same school, where they met and decided to create the group in 2015.

Thomas added: “Rowan is one of the best in world on the Cyr wheel, which is the large metal circle. Cal is one of the only people in Australia who can do a handstand on top of ladder. And I have a background in breakdancing and can bounce on my head on a swinging Washington trapeze.

“But I feel like we’re definitely the only guys doing a narrative circus show at the moment. I can’t think of any other adult circus show, which has a full and cohesive narrative.”

‘Elixir’ won the First and Foremost Entertainment Award for its UK debut at Brighton Fringe in 2015, and the trio return to the UK following their sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe 2017.

The team trains for one to two hours per day on strength, conditioning and stretching. Thomas explained that their work is dangerous and that any one of the routines could seriously injure or cause death if the performers do not concentrate.

“I hope that everyone has a good time. It’s a really nice feeling when we run out to the front after a show and meet people. It’s nice to hear ‘that’s the best thing I’ve seen’ and ‘I wasn’t expecting that’ and it feels awesome,” said Thomas.

Alongside this show run in London, original pirate-themed children’s show called ‘Arr we there yet?’ opened at Underbelly Festival Southbank on Sunday 10 and is on every Sunday until 1 July before returning to Edinburgh Fringe this August.

What: Elixir at Underbelly
Where: Southbank
When: June 12 – 23, 9:30pm
How: Short walk from Waterloo station
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