There was a great deal of disappointment when the world premiere of The Pulse at the Sydney Festival was cancelled earlier this year. It was to have been the first production by the combined forces of the three international touring companies of Gravity & Other Myths, which had been grounded by the global pandemic. With border restrictions still in place, and faced with the prospect of missing out on performing in its home town of Adelaide, this troupe of acrobats and physical theatre makers decided to stay put.

The Pulse at Adelaide Festival, 2021. All photographs © Darcy Grant

Sydney’s loss was Adelaide’s gain, with The Pulse proving to be a major drawcard at this year’s Adelaide Festival – and for good reason. The skill, artistry and daring on display is breathtaking, even if the vision is ambiguous.

A co-production with women’s vocal ensemble Aurora (Young Adelaide Voices), this acrobatic showcase bears the markings of a fully-fledged theatrical piece. With a score composed by Ekrem Eli Phoenix, it opens with the choir chanting seemingly random numbers in a style that brings to mind Philip Glass. The company of acrobats-cum-dancers assemble one by one into...