EdFringe 2022 Review: Railed

“Railed is high-energy acrobatics at its best.”

Australia’s Head First Acrobats have become a staple of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with their previous show Elixir proving to be a pre-pandemic festival hit. Their latest production is Railed, a wild west themed fusion of comedy, acrobatics, and shirtless torsos directed by Debra Batton and John Walton.

Callan Harris, Anthony Saltalmacchia, Jordan Twartz and Liam Dummer star as four cowboy antiheroes, fusing some western themed storytelling with fast-paced spectacles of acrobatic ingenuity and skill. The Head First crew pack these feats with a well-pitched racy sense of humour ensuring that Railed will provide enough silliness, gymnastic finesse or chiselled shirtlessness to impress all audiences.

In this relaxed performance at the Assembly’s Palais du Variete, lighting is slightly brighter than usual, sounds slightly softer, and audiences told that they can freely move around the venue. Given these adjustments, Railed is no less energised and raucous than you might expect.

High-energy skipping routines, balancing on chairs, and climbing atop one another in a tower of three are just some of the manoeuvres that the team of Railed present with an apparent ease – albeit an immense amount of training and skill must be required to make it look so seamless.

The Head First Acrobats are a truly talented bunch, turning their hands to numerous gymnastic routines whilst also showcasing themselves as masters of slapstick comedy. A routine involving a horse head and a horse’s personal appendage brings some crude humour to the fold, something escalated as we are introduced to one of the cast in a unicorn costume. Equine passion soon follows, but not before we’ve seen an impressive aerial routine and a comic routine with a whip. Railed presents further variety in impressive use of the yoyoing carousel bearing diabolo, skipping ropes, and a fast-paced bottle sliding routine.

Routines centred on balancing on chairs and a mix of headstands and gymnastic manoeuvres from a great height prove truly awe-inspiring, whilst an energetic finale featuring springboards brings Railed to a powerhouse conclusion.

Railed is high-energy acrobatics at its best. Pairing a vibrancy and a bawdy sense of fun with complex routines delivered with an awe-inspiring finesse means Railed is a real treat.

Railed plays at the Assembly George Square until August 28th. Get tickets here.

Lead photo: Lynsey Nicol Photography

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