Melbourne Fringe – Circalicious

Melb Fringe CircaliciousCircalicious is a showcase promising “a range of acrobatic and aerial skills, performed by a mash up of Melbourne’s circus artists and Emerald City guests”. At least this part of the Fringe guide entry was accurate.

You’d have to think that such a vague guide description suggests a line-up not completely solidified. There was a touch of the country show about proceedings that made for a variable experience. Please Fringe venues, all of you, keep your shows to their advertised time. Starting 15 minutes late in a festival only annoys the punters who’ve finished a drink quickly to get in line for a seat at the expected time or who have another show to get to next.

We wondered if our MC Scott Hone (appearing in Scott’s BMX Trick Bike Show) was a protégé of Daryl Somers. At times introductions were stilted and performer names were forgotten. Rather than having puppet ostrich Ozzie as a side-kick, Scott had son Ollie.

If the kid has to tell lame jokes, give him a mic so that Scott doesn’t have to repeat them, weakening the show’s pulse. Even better would be just to cut the flab of this and meandering stories entirely, stick to the pretty good stunt BMX riding and get the circus talent on without delay to keep the tempo up.

At least there was a good cross-section of circus acts. After the filler of walking around the stage that wasn’t at all suited to getting an audience enthused, Elenor Tan and Bernice Franklin showed strength in their balancing routine. Tom McDonald (appearing in Trash Test Dummies) was competent in a rope climbing routine that exposed his tired-sounding inner monologue. Unfortunately the act also lacked energy compared to many others.

West Australian Sarah Gray offered a novel slant on contortionism by combining it with a gymnastic type of contemporary dance. Local artist Miranda Walker, attired and made up for goth glamour, gave a performance to please those who appreciate a more contemporary slant on circus. Character and skills combined in a memorable aerial hoop act adding powerful transitions to the customary grace of the discipline.

Visiting Taylor Kranse from New York concluded the show with her roue Cyr. The act had good variety, appropriated matched the accompanying music, and her costume was well chosen to accentuate movement as the rolled around the stage.

When the format of bite-sized acts is done well, as in La Clique, the presentation is slick, and acts are punchy to sustain our interest. Circalicious would do well to study some of these better examples. While there were some standout moments, it might not be the best choice for those who’ve seen a lot of circus. In particular, in the Circus Oz era where shows can have a narrative, the limitations of the mixed bag approach can become quite apparent.

Melbourne Fringe – Circalicious  
Emerald City – Meat Market, 3 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Friday 22 September 2017 – 7.00pm
Season continues to 24 September 2017
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: Circalicious

Review: Jason Whyte

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