An Evening of Wheel Thrills

05.12.15
Flynn Center Blog

The Flynn launched into high gear Sunday night with a human-propelled spectacular worthy of the MainStage. Bicycles. Bicycles. Bicycles—everywhere. Amidst a backdrop of steampunk and wheels, Chris Lashua’s Cirque Mechanics’ Pedal Punk pulsed to a beat of eclectic industrial tunes and applause. What is it about the human condition that drives us to seek out these crazy thrills? I imagined myself back in the 1800s waiting outside of a circus tent, in line in a field somewhere, eager to pay my money to set my heart racing. To see something so unbelievable that I would marvel at . .
 
At what? The body’s flexibility? The performer’s fearlessness? The belief that I could do that too if I only got up from my writing desk? And what about the performer? What compels a person to fling herself untethered from a pole and a wheel and a trampoline for the amusement of others?
 
I was in fine company sitting mid-theater in a practically packed house of both children and adults, everyone buzzing with anticipation. The only silence of the night came at the start of the show when the lights dimmed. From the moment the first acrobats flipped onto the scene, the audience became part of the act, gasping and hooting at every turn.
 
At one point early on, a large wheel slowly descended and two amazing young women seamlessly shared the lyra as they were lifted high above the center stage to perform. Without nets, spotters, or safety belts—at least none that I noticed—each act twisted, turned, and spun to the crowd’s amazement.The show would have been thrilling enough on solid ground, but add the elevated stage and the continuous motion and the results were electrifying. 
Moving bodies were everywhere with each act as awe-inspiring as the last.
 The standing audience added to the finale with a booming round of applause. Pedal Punk delivered the thrills that we all had been after.