Jim Fitzmorris

A dark acrobatic fairy tale, “LoopsEnd”, swirling and spinning its way through the weekend at The Old Ironworks, is the first must-see event of The Fringe Fest that I witnessed.

A chain and silk aerial show that springs from the Atlanta based Paper Doll Militia troupe, “LoopsEnd” comes off like the love child of Tim Burton and Trent Reznor: Shakespearean faeries run amok in the mind of Oyster Boy. Obsessed with both beauty and pain, the evening mixes high romanticism with steampunk sensibilities and is a natural fit for the space it inhabits.

After an intense opening duet involving two female aerialists reversing roles as a captor and a jailer, a company of five women and one stilt-walking man swing and twist themselves into a series of poses worthy of a compositional painting.

The company works in wonderful syncopation throughout a world of ropes and pulleys. They give focus rather than steal it and, because of this, achieve an artistic triumph where all share in the success.

With romantic industrial underscoring, the troupe’s work causes angels to achieve lift, damsels to flee distress, and night flowers to bloom.

It’s a midwinter night’s dream from which you will not want to awake.