The Pulse: Gravity and Other Myths
What happens when you combine some of the country’s best acrobats with an a cappella choir to rival The Barden Bellas? You get The Pulse: Gravity and Other Myths. If you’re thinking about attending this show, I highly recommend investing in good seats – you don’t want an obstructed view and miss any of the magic that happens onstage.
One thing to note: Adelaide Festival requires all audience members to wear a mask from the moment you enter Her Majesty’s Theatre. This is obviously for our safety, but I did find that it hindered my experience – especially when you factor in that the theatre was socially distanced anyway. One hour of wearing the disposable masks that they provide proved to be quite uncomfortable, so it’s definitely worth bringing your own if you can.
On to the show: I can’t give enough credit to the acrobats in Pulse. They truly did justice to the show’s title and defied gravity with their mesmerising tricks. I was awestruck at times – more often than not as a matter of fact – and the synchronised movement was hypnotic. The choreography and skill was hands down the best part of the show. The issue with acrobatic shows is that tricks must consistently be topped to keep audiences entertained. There has to be a continuous increase in impressiveness. The show did this really well at times, but after the pinnacle of the show with the ‘biggest’ trick out of the bag, everything else seemed anticlimactic to me. It was very ‘you’ve seen one three-tiered human tower you’ve seen them all’.
My biggest issue with Pulse is that I think it fell into the trap of being ‘artsy’ for the sale of being artsy, and that came at a cost. I do believe Pulse was trying to tell a narrative through its choreography and a cappella soundtrack. There were times during the show where nothing happened, and I think this was intended to emphasise emotion or linger on something profound – but unfortunately I didn’t understand the story at all. The atmosphere of the show – which would usually be very important in conveying storyline in the absence of dialogue – was serene at times, then interspersed with a jarring cacophony of inaudible chatter. This not only added to my confusion, but completely took me out of my tranquility and seemed to serve no purpose. The attempts at comedy roused slight chuckles from the audience but wasn’t worth the detraction from the tone of the show.
Overall, I think this was a good show. I also think it would have been improved if it focused more on the actual acrobatics and gravity-defying stunts, over a vague storyline that seemed to go nowhere. I don’t think I’ll be buying another ticket anytime soon, but I don’t regret attending. The choreography and skill in the acrobats and a cappella cast still justify the ticket price.