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Free Run
Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

3 stars

Udderbelly's Pasture (venue website)
3-15, 17-20, 23-29 Aug, 6:20pm-7:20pm; 21 Aug, 6:20pm-7:20pm, 11:15pm-12:15am
Reviewed by Rachel Hartley-Davison

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Free Run – from the parkour-inspired 'free running' - features dynamic acrobatics performed in an urban landscape. 3Run are here to bring this phenomenon to the stage, and in doing so, treat us to a high-octane hour of stunts, parkour and martial arts.

The concept of Free Run seems slightly at odds with the ideology it is trying to present. Free running is best performed in its natural habitat – the concrete jungle. The space inside the Udderbelly has no concessions to space or freedom, and I struggled to see how the awe-inspiring urban art of Free Running could be demonstrated within it.

However, the 8-strong cast (each one a celebrity in the world of the sport) use this space superbly, and allow us a glimpse of the poised strength and explosive energy that free running demands. Using various apparatus on and around the stage, the team leap around us like unworldly beings. Their precise skill is a visual treat to behold, especially in the opening and closing 15-minute sequences. And the cast are as physically perfect as you would expect from acrobatic sportsmen and women.

However, amidst this undeniably superb display of physicality, there are moments where the narrative is both vague and stilted. Several cast members are involved in a chase with what appear to be authoritarian figures,  but the dynamics seem to wane slightly as fewer cast members are left on stage. Nevertheless, martial arts moves are neatly woven through these scenes, with a kick-ass girl (the only one in the show) engaged in combat, and an utterly brilliant capoeira artist.

Through near-faultlessly executed turn vaults, wall twists and diving front flips, the 3Run guys are clearly masters of their art. The well-produced visuals of the team are played as backdrop, and this is a good device to illustrate the breadth of talent we are here to see. There wasn’t enough cohesion in the narrative to render the show technically perfect, but I can’t wait to see what these talented guys come up with in future.

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