Fringe Review: Head First – Femmes du Feu

By Crystal Wood

You know how sometimes you see an opening act at a concert, and you think “Wow, these guys are really good. Who even needs the main act?” And then actually you see the main act, and you’re like “Never mind. Yeah, this is what I paid for.” Head First is like that. The three pieces are all just fine separately, but the third piece so eclipses the ones before it that you feel a little bad for the other two. Fortunately, they’re all from the same company, so I don’t feel that bad for them.

I wish the photos on the Fringe site were working, because this is a show that features aerial silks choreography. It looks daring, physically challenging and it takes place 10 feet off the ground. Pictures would be really cool. But my description will have to do here.

The first piece, Impossibility, is a duo featuring Sabrina Pringle and Holly Treddenick. These girls play well off each other, and I liked the number’s “raw” feel. The ground choreography isn’t quite as impressive as the aerial choreography – which isn’t as obvious as it sounds. When they’re on the ground, I feel that they should be working harder to impress us, but it feels here like they use it simply as downtime. (Not that they don’t earn a moment to breathe, because folding yourself up into an aerial pretzel looks tiring!)

The second piece, Les Flamencitas, is a (non-aerial) solo performed and choreographed by Maria Flavia Litwin, is an a capella number similar to rhythm tap but with a Flamenco twist. (There may be a name for this dance style; my apologies for not knowing it.) Litwin’s movements are intricate and precise in their syncopation, and overall quite impressive. Unfortunately, on the day I attended the performer looked like she could not have been more bored onstage, and this seemed to bring down the energy of the audience too.

But it was soon brought back up by the third piece, Dive, which I am not going to stop calling “the main act.” With a larger cast of 6, the piece takes us through 7 stages of a woman’s life, from childhood to motherhood. The music, the choreography and the emotion all suit the 7 moods perfectly, and it’s here that the performers earned their “ooh!”s from the audience. I hope this piece could be lengthened and remounted on a main stage in the future. Cirque du Soleil has nothin’ on Dive.

UPDATE: Head First will be performing an additional show on Sunday, as it was chosen Patron’s Pick for its venue. (see below)

Details:

Cast: Andrea Ciacci, Lara Ebata, Natalie Fullerton, Maria Flavia Litwin, Jamie Holmes, Sabrina Pringle, Holly Treddenick
Audience: General Audience
Warning: Fog machine
55 min.

Venue 3: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace
Fri, July 3 11:00 PM
Sun, July 5 4:00 PM
Mon, July 6 8:45 PM
Wed, July 8 12:15 PM
Thu, July 9 7:00 PM
Fri, July 10 6:15 PM
Sat, July 11 1:45 PM
PATRON’S PICK: Sun, July 12 6:45 PM