Situated in a lush green glade of the Botanic Gardens, Life on the Line is a good example of a show that compliments and is complemented by its setting. With a positive message promoting outdoor play and kindness in its young audience, this is plainly wholesome fun that knows its audience and works to engage them. This show exemplifies many of the most admirable qualities of what the Fringe can offer. Tucked away in a grassy area of the Botanic Gardens, it truly feels like the sort of hidden gem one happens upon one sunny afternoon.
The fundamental, unpretentious good-naturedness of this show means that even the most cynical people will likely be forced to embrace its good-natured message.
Hilda the Hills Hoist takes centre stage throughout and lends her frame to a host imaginative scenarios. The performance is by turns acrobatic, comic, and musical, but always silly. Having brought Hilda all the way from Australia’s east coast, the pair’s passion is hardly up for debate. They then proceed to go about the show with all the joy and excitement one could hope of two people willing to undertake such an endeavour.
In the performance I attended, there was a slight technical difficulty which I note only for their ability to work through it and improvise. Their rawness and openness in performance means that a technical issue poses far less of an issue for them than it would others.
The winning performance delights in the silly and is sure to win the hearts of all children (and children-at-heart). It’s a good show for people of all ages and while it features audience participation – a terrifying prospect to many – it does so in an excellent style that should remain a fond memory after the performance’s conclusion. A goodness of spirit and honest glee in the chaotic permeates this show and ensures that it should be one of the staples of a family’s Fringe outing.
The show’s rougher edges are never an issue as they only go further toward what the show is at its core – a thing of child-like imagination and enjoyment. At its heart, this show is just about children playing outside and turning the mundane into the fantastic.
Words by Liam McNally
Life on the Line is playing February 24, March 2-3, and March 16-17, three time a day, at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens’ Plane Tree Lawns (access via the Friends’ Gate). Tickets are available here.