Review By Flora Norton
If you’ve been craving the energy of four shirtless men wearing cowboy hats doing vaguely erotic acrobatics, then the Head First Acrobats performance of ‘Railed’ at the Gasworks is everything you’ve been looking for and more. With all the lights, music, and adrenaline of a circus performance, ‘Railed’ is funny, exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time and has the audience gasping and cheering throughout.
The show follows the antics of four drunk cowboys as they fight, squabble, and make up, all whilst performing some jaw-dropping stunts and ridiculous tricks. From one man doing a handstand atop a tower of unstably stacked chairs, to another ripping off his shirt while sporting a horse mask, the performance will have you burying your head in your hands and shielding your eyes for more reasons than one. While the performers are extremely talented, they are also endearingly prone to slip-ups and mistakes, which they overcome gracefully with self-deprecating humour and witty asides. The excitement and energy exuding from the performers gives the overwhelming impression that they are enjoying themselves as much as the audience, releasing tension and making the experience all the more joyous.
Throughout the show, the acrobats execute an impressive catalogue of tricks; from handstands and flips, to balancing acts and diablo sequences, to an acrobat swinging off a rope using just his mouth to support his body weight. To complement the incredible physical performance, the show also has sexual undertones, with flirtatious body language, soft-core stripping, and some simulated sex scenes making it hilarious viewing but maybe not appropriate for younger audiences.
While the show contains limited speech, and next to no evidence of any plot, the acrobats still adopt certain character tropes, and use mime to convey their personalities and garner sympathy, respect, and outrage from the crowd. The constant movement, set changes, props and moving parts make the hour-long performance fly by in a thrilling whirlwind and leaves the audience wanting more. The acrobats are cheeky and fearless, their talent is undeniable and exhilarating to watch, and the performance is brilliantly absurd and refreshingly light-hearted. Railed is an absolute must-see for anyone craving an evening of fun, and open to a sprinkling of light homoeroticism.