The set is simple: a darkened stage with what looks like pull switches (the kind you might find in your granny’s bathroom) dangling from the heavens. Are they something to do with aerial acrobatics? Very slender cordes lisses, perhaps?

Nope, they really are light switches (a genius idea from lighting and set designer Geoff Cobham). The performers use them to great effect, pulling them on with an audible click, to spotlight their own tiny area of the stage, isolating themselves in the cone of light. They are joined in their cones by a second acrobat and together they twist, spin, slap and hug in simultaneous duets that are as much contemporary dance as they are circus.

The drama slowly builds with tumbles, swings and some nail-biting high-speed throws and catches. There’s an impressive solo performance from flyer Dylan Phillips, whose extraordinary flips, tumbles and balances are a joy to watch.

Equally impressive is the sequence where the rest of the troupe lift, support and manoeuvre Phillips’ body into a series of skilful balances without once using their hands.

Nail-biting high-speed throws and catches from Gravity & Other Myths. Photo: Matt Byrne

The troupe are accompanied throughout by local jazz ensemble Nu Article, who perform a soundtrack by composer Ekrem Eli Phoenix. The music seamlessly stitches the show together, notes soaring above the stage with the performers, drum and trumpet solos heralding the more dramatic actions.

Director Darcy Grant has successfully steered GOM towards much larger-scale productions (see Macro, the “world premiere opening night spectacular” for this year’s Adelaide Festival), so I Want to Touch You is testament to the company’s determination to stay true to its roots and continue to produce smaller ensemble pieces for the Fringe.

And, as befits a Fringe show, there are elements of street theatre in the up-close-and-personal nature of the performance. The dialogue between audience and performer might have been enhanced with a thrust stage, rather than the more distancing proscenium set-up, but we are nonetheless pushed to the edge of our seats when the leg-trembles and gritted teeth of the acrobats unashamedly communicate the tricky nature of some of the pyramid manoeuvres.

Connection, support, human interaction, ways that we come together and ways that we move apart, I Want to Touch You is an intimate, joyful, exhilarating show for our times.

I Want to Touch You is at the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 20.

Read more 2022 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews here.

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