The Freaks is a challenging name for a gymnastics team to live up to. When there are high-flying trapeze acts and the like, it takes a lot to qualify as a freakish gymnastics act. While the antics of The Freaks may not be as death defying as somersaulting between trapeze swings without a safety net, they are certainly impressive.
When one considers that the ages of the troupe when they appeared on BGT 15 (2022) ranged from 9 to 36, and that the youngest member, Annika Markovsky, was often the gymnast most at risk in the act, it is a good thing that the performance was not freakishly dangerous. Nonetheless, The Freaks earned their name through freakishly complex choreography.
As you have seen, the scenario of the troupe’s audition performance involves protecting a mysterious glowing box from a freakishly agile evil gang in post-apocalyptic London. The integration of the gymnastics routine with the multi-media is most impressive and enhances the tension of some of the more heart-stopping maneuvers. Judge David Walliams exclaimed that the performance was “utterly terrifying and thrilling” and Amanda Holden called it a “feast for the eyes”. The Freaks got four yeses.
The reactions to The Freaks BGT audition were overwhelmingly positive. Newspapers from the Liverpool Echo to The Mirror to The Sun to OK all carried headlines expressing BGT fans’ consternation that The Freaks were not given a golden buzzer. The Liverpool Echo described the audition as “death-defying” and called The Freaks BGT’s “season-saving act” (the Freaks are not from Liverpool, incidentally). Here is The Freaks’ semi-final performance on BGT 2022. Unfortunately, they did not make the finals.
The word “freak” has become contested in recent years due to the concern that the word may cause offense. In defense of The Freaks, the group is Austrian and was formed in 2009. Their use of the word is simply an assertion that the choreography of the group’s performances, the styling of the group’s costumes, the range of ages & the gender mix, and the skills on show are out of the ordinary.
The Freaks started out as a group of nine children and young adults from a gymnastics club in the small Austrian town of St.Valentin. As the group put it on their website “To always be ‘different’, to stand out from other show acts with particularly creative elements, to be a ‘freak’ in this sense … have made the rapid rise of the group into the top class of entertainment possible.” Founded in 1911, the group’s home base, the General Gymnastics Club St.Valentin, has been voted the 3rd best Austrian Gym Club several times, which is impressive considering the competition from big city gyms.
The founder and head coach of The Freaks is OC Ono. His philosophy is to create extraordinary spectacles by combining artistry, dance, acting and visuals. The Freaks have performed around the world. Besides BGT they have appeared on France Got Talent, around Europe, at Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, and at the Tokyo Olympics.
Last, but not least, The Music Man readers may be interested in the music used by The Freaks for their BGT audition. The composition is O Fortuna (Carmina Burana & Carl Orff). Older readers will remember it from a long-running Old Spice advert: