Barely Balanced strive to push their limits. Most acrobatic acts perform short three to seven minute shows. Barely Balanced performs 45-60+ minute shows jammed with comedy. Holding a difficult balance is hard enough. Doing it while cracking several minutes of jokes makes is ten times harder. The trio are on tour with their current gravity-defying show ‘Acrobatic Daredevils‘.

Come watch as Margret Ebert, Cameron Tomele, and James Freer (or as you will come to know and love them, “Small”, “Medium”, and “Large”) balance precariously on top of each other, contort their limbs, and juggle knives as razor sharp as their wit. They’ll incorporate a cornucopia of circus props into the fun, including: chinese yoyo (of death), rolla bolla (of doom), and hula hoop (of no particular threat). They may even use one of their favorite and most unpredictable props – YOU!

The team’s on the road right now performing a run at the Bristol Renaissance Festival, followed by the Chicago Fringe Theater Festival. I was able to correspond with troupe member Cameron via email, for a brief interview.

Q. How did you get a start in this line of work?

A. Well, Barely Balanced was created post-Big Bang. Okay, post post post post post Big Bang in a far away land called, “Ohio.” It all began with an intense case of ADHD. As a child I was constantly climbing everything, trees, buildings…people. Years later I teamed up with two friends at Hocking College and decided to combine our daredevil antics and reckless stupidity to create an acrobatic show that would strike fear into the hearts of insurance adjusters everywhere. We drew inspiration from a variety of characters such as Jackie Chan, Cirque Du Soleil, and the Marx Brothers. Combining this inspiration with years of experience gained in detention due to class clowning, we created an award winning show that has toured the country entertaining audiences for nearly a decade. 

I was a self taught daredevil. The show began without any of us having a background in theater, gymnastics, or tumbling. While bored between classes we started climbing each other and juggling objects (other students), and through trial and error mastered many circus skills. Without someone to show us how, we created our own methods, which gave the show its distinct style, so unlike other circus performances. Now we love to spend time trading tricks and training techniques with fellow performers. And I am proud now to have Margret in the team, who brings with her five years of circus training, and James, who brings a decade of theater and stunt work.


Q. What’s the worst injury you’ve survived?

A. We were trying a new stunt, which we now call the spine breaker, where we were all balanced on top of Jimmy. I’m upside down clinging to his waist with my legs while Margret is balanced on top of my glutes juggling knives. We lost balance and, well, basically I got put into one massive pile-driver with well over 400 lbs. of weight behind it. I’ll never forget seeing Jimmy’s butt cheeks come flying at my face. That’s the stuff of nightmares. 

Over the years we’ve worked through five broken bones, two torn muscles, and five sprains, all while still performing. We’ve definitely mastered the art of “the show must go on!” and have found ways to perform acrobatics with one useable foot, do complex juggling routines with one hand, and drink fancy tea with a broken pinky.

Shin Splints

Q. What can Vancouver audiences expect from your show?

A. A unique experience in that we’re one of the very few acrobatic and verbal comedy shows touring the world. Also a chance to have a true effect on the show as we use a lot of audience volunteers and interaction. We like keeping our show organic and allowing the audience to shape it into something different and usually wonderfully weird. 

Q. The show you’re bringing here is a first for you: an indoor performance. Is this also your first Vancouver Fringe Fest?

A. This not just our first Vancouver Fringe Fest but our first time ever to the city. It makes us very nervous and excited.

As for the indoor show, we’re constantly striving for better, bigger and more unbelievable. After eight years of rocking outdoor theaters, we’re ready to brave the world of low ceilings, spotlights, canned music, and strict fire codes, in an attempt to bring Vancouver audiences a new level of interpersonal daredevil theater. 

Q. Anything about Vancouver that makes you curious?

A. The food! We tour all year long and our favorite thing to do while we travel is meet local’s and find out about all the best mom and pop restaurants. Which we hear Vancouver is teaming with.

We’re also very intrigued to see how our show is received by Canadian and Fringe audiences. It’s definitely not a sit back and watch sort of production. We want to get people on the edge of their seats, make them torn between gasping in amazement and cracking up. We want to destroy the fourth wall and take the entire audience down the rabbit hole. 

Venue: Performance Works Theatre, Granville Island
Times: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 5 pm
Thursday, Sept. 15, 8:05 pm
Friday, Sept. 16, 7 pm
Sunday, Sept. 18, 12:45 pm

Tickets for “Acrobatic Daredevils” are available on the Fringe Festival website. For more information, visit Barely Balanced’s website.


  • Comment by Georgia W. — August 26, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    The Fringe just keeps getting better and better! I’ve got the schedule and can barely keep it to under 20 shows right now 🙂

  • Comment by Shelley — August 26, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    Amazing shots! I’m sure the daredevils will love the Vancouver food scene as well as Granville Island. Fringe is just around the corner!!

  • Comment by SteveHC — September 12, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    These guys are GREAT – absolutely amazing! Catch them wherever and whenever you can, you’ll LOVE the show! Truly EXCITING family entertainment for all ages – a real rarity these days.

  • Comment by arianec — September 12, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    SteveHC, I’m excited to be seeing the show tomorrow night!

    Georgia W, Have you seen any shows that you care to recommend?

    Shelley, Thanks, I’m sure they’re having a blast already 🙂

  • Pingback by Van Fringe: Five Faves So Far | ariane c design — September 14, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    […] Acrobatic Daredevils – From the moment that this Chicago-area based trio took the Performance Works stage, I knew […]

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