Death-defying stunts

Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman perform one of their Seven Deadly Stunts. The duo will be in Invercargill tomorrow.

LIZZIE Tollemache and David Ladderman are playing with fire.

The duo, from Rollicking Entertainment, will perform their new show Seven Deadly Stunts at SIT Centrestage tomorrow night at 7.30pm – and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Travelling throughout the country with Arts On Tour New Zealand and presented in Invercargill by The House Series, Seven Deadly Stunts showcases exciting feats including walking on broken glass, juggling a chainsaw and swallowing fire.

The couple had previously performed in Southland at events including the buskers festival, Shakespeare in the Park and the arts festival, but this show featured completely new acts, Tollemache said.

“I think anyone in Southland who’s come to our shows before will know that we’re all about bringing a mixture of exciting visual things combined with humour and New Zealand stories/New Zealand history.

“So we’ve got that same kind of mix going on in Seven Deadly Stunts.”

In Seven Deadly Stunts, everything went up a level, she said.

“The acts, the stunts, the kind of adrenaline rush, the danger, – the level is definitely the highest it’s been.”

Tollemache said it should interest anyone who was interested in Harry Houdini, old carnivals and circus acts, travelling medicine shows, Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

“That’s very much the world of Seven Deadly Stunts. So it’s like really thrilling, really exciting and full of all these fantastic old stories from the carnivals, the travelling medicine show and the circus.”

Within the circus and variety community were various stunts which were notorious, she said.

“So we hunted down acts and stunts and feats of human skill that across a massive range of countries and cultures were considered to be dangerous and deadly, and acts that have been notorious in their day.”

Tollemache said they collected a fantastic bunch of research and picked the seven acts which would be the most exciting for them to perform.

They would also tell the story behind each stunt, taking the audience on a journey from ancient India, to gold-rush times and wild west shows, through to the modern day.

“It’s a real journey through what makes people take these crazy risks and perform these crazy things.”

For every new show they had to learn new acts and new techniques, with a huge amount of training and practising going into it before it hit the stage, she said.

It was amazing to be able to perform the acts close enough so the audience could see them in detail, but this also came with its challenges, she said.

“It’s exciting because it means the audience gets a much more intimate experience than you ever normally would with that kind of act.

“But it also means that we have to be even more precise because there’s no hiding from the detail of the audience, so we have to get that perfect.”

Also while in Invercargill, Tollemache and Ladderman will perform Messy Magic Adventure at ILT Stadium Southland.

Local arts advocates Jade Gillies, of Gillies Creative, and Sarah McCarthy, of McCarthy Media and Communications, have been working with funding agencies in Southland to help bring the children’s show to Invercargill pupils in years 1-3.

As part of the project, they were also fundraising to help cover the cost of transporting the children to the show, and have set up a Givealittle page in an effort to reach their $5000 target.

Tollemache said their efforts to provide access to theatre for local children was a wonderful initiative.

“Because if live entertainment, theatre and live performance, and the arts in general, are going to survive, then the way that we do that is by engaging the audiences of tomorrow – which are the kids. Giving them that experience now is wonderful.”

Tollemache said Messy Magic Adventure was a very New Zealand story and had been created for a younger audience.

“It’s about two Kiwi cleaners who arrive to clean a magician’s house and they end up letting all of the magic out of the magic box.

“It’s all about making magic and finding adventures in the everyday.”

Tollemache said it included lots of big slapstick moments, and the children helped to figure out how to get the magic back into the box.

Seven Deadly Stunts, SIT Centrestage, Friday, November 9, 7.30pm.

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