Above – Liam Dummer and Thomas Gorham. Photo – Sofia Reinking, graphic design – Eiben O'Connor

Crème de la Crème is the late-night variety show from Head First Acrobats who also perform GODZ in the same tent, earlier in the night. No rest for the wicked – these four people must be some of the hardest-working artists at the Melbourne Fringe.

Crème de la Crème has been doing the festival rounds and picks up different acts every time it performs in a new place. So its success really depends on what content is on offer at the time.

In the first weekend, despite a less-than-capacity crowd on the Saturday night, emcee/host/all-around wacky guy Cal Harris lubricated everyone up with his off-the-cuff introductions and intentionally bad stand up. He procured a few freaky tricks of his own (balloon animals and COVID tests will never be the same again), proving he will do a lot for a laugh, no matter how gross.

Besides Harris, the other Head First Acrobats contributed individual acts including Liam Dummer’s gender fluid aerial routine that was most notable for teeth/mouth balancing from the rig and an incredibly fluid near-nude body slinking around in ever-so-high heels. Thomas Gorham’s Mr Finale Man (complete with silly European accent) strung together breakdancing, hand balancing and naked acrobatics with good skills in a somewhat loose act that would get more bang for buck with tighter structure.

Jordan Twartz is everything diablo (spinning top on a rope) and he has a solid, fast-paced routine manipulating the circus apparatus in surprisingly difficult and funky ways.

Alanah Hill’s cute hula routine harboured a few dazzler tricks within a coquettish, wink-wink styling. A hard and fast aerial hoop number from Jessica Robbins (who also performed in Matador straight before this appearance) was steely and skillful within a singular dynamic.

Rounding it out was an appearance from comic/clown Garry Starr doing a bit from his own comedy show which crams all of Greek mythology into an hour. Running around topless in a white tennis skirt, Shakespearean collar and a huge frizz of hair, Starr did a verbal back and forth with a very-compliant audience member and demonstrated professional level abilities in catching flying lollies, but the segment felt out of place in an acro-extravaganza.

While the individual talents of each performer shone, this particular night of Crème de la Crème remained bitsy, rather than a whole package. Somewhat racy, but nothing beyond what we expect from adult-only circus. It probably was the proverbial second night slump and now, later in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, has ratcheted up to heights worthy of its name.

Event details

Head First Acrobats presents
Crème de la Crème

Venue: Festival Park (The Vault) | Testing Grounds Market Sq, Queen Victoria Market (391 Queen St) Melbourne VIC
Dates: 6 – 28 October 2023
Tickets: $45 – $40
Bookings: melbournefringe.com.au

Part of the 2023 Melbourne Fringe Festival


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