By Kelly Luck
It is always interesting to see what sort of physical theatre productions come in each year with Fringe. The Chicago-based Imaginez has brought for us this year Take Flight, a story about pursuing your dreams and the changes one sometimes has to make to do so.
The story stars three clowns: Kiki, Fink, and Bumbles, as they attempt to take flight in pursuit of their dreams. Kiki (Ariel Begley) is pure id: temperamental, emotional, a beating heart of childlike joy. Fink, the ‘finker’ (Genesee Spridco), is the intellectual of the group, planning and organizing, mediating between the others. Bumbles (Gabriel Faith Howard) is the quiet one, reserved and unsure, clinging to (quite literal) emotional baggage to the point where he just can’t seem to get off the ground.
Kiki and Fink rally round Bumbles, and try to help him lighten his load a bit so that they can, at last, fly on to their dreams. This involves storytelling, aerial work, tumbling, even a little audience participation. The tone is overall rather silly, though there are a couple of moments of poignancy that come at you out of nowhere. The three are all obviously very experienced performers, and go through their paces skillfully. Kiki is an excitable character, to put it mildly, but manages to keep from going completely over the top. Fink keeps things on an even keel, and keeps the production going at a good steady pace. An interesting decision to make Bumbles essentially nonvocal, but in fact it does work.
Take Flight is amusing and nicely done, suitable for all ages. Entertaining but with a surprising emotional core. It seems that this is the first and primary production by the Imaginez troupe. After three years of refinements, it is maturing into a very compelling production indeed. It is hoped that they will return in some Fringe yet to come, to show us how it has grown–or, perhaps, what new story they have felt drawn to tell.