The true judges of any show aimed at children are the children in the audience, and the kids at Lucky Pigeons at Underbelly’s Circus Hub seemed to have a good time. Their little minds weren’t necessarily up to buying into the concept – one tot in front of me confidently declared, “Those aren’t eggs; they’re just balls!” during a juggling sequence – but they were still attentive and excited.
the kids seemed to have a good time
Unfortunately, Lucky Pigeons didn’t stand up as well for this adult reviewer. The aforementioned concept – four of the five cast as pigeons in elaborate costumes with a charming homemade aesthetic, with a visiting human protagonist – was fun once established, although the mime/floor sequence which did so was long and a bit confusing. The costumes were a highlight, and played well with the custom set piece, which evoked steel rebar with a hint of birds’ nest.
A key issue was unfortunately with seating. Lucky Pigeons is set on the floor of the Beauty, which doesn’t have a rake. Most shows I have seen in the venue use a raised thrust to compensate, the utility of which became obvious from only the third row. The show was very floor heavy, featuring clowning, acrobatics, floor work, and a juggling act, which meant that there were several tricks I missed completely – for example, a one-armed handstand that I only correctly identified when the performer's free arm rose briefly into my eyeline.
In addition, there were performances on corde lisse, lyra, and aerial straps, as well as a sweet moment of short silks on pulleys functioning as a sort of inverse teetertotter. While the performers all had stage presence and aplomb, the difficulty level and density of moves was lower than I have come to expect from circus at the Fringe, especially at Circus Hub itself.
Nevertheless, there were highlights. The corde lisse act was particularly good, and the interaction our protagonist elicited from children and adults alike in the opening clown sequence was delightful. Lucky Pigeons represents a first effort from Fringe newcomers Brainfools, and I absolutely believe they will go far as a young company.