Following a Victorian regional tour and a series of shows in Brazil, Circus Oz have returned home and settled back into Birrarung Marr on the banks of the Yarra for their annual Melbourne Big Top season with their latest offering, TWENTYSIXTEEN.
Circus Oz has had a long history of upholding the finest elements of traditional circus, and this year guest director, Anni Davey has gone back to basics with a show that features a stunning mix of the old and new, that allows the skill of the performers to speak for themselves.
While the group routines (Chinese Pole, trapeze and tumbling) will always be crowd favourites, it’s the individual acts that prove to be highlights, including Matt Wilson’s exquisite chair balancing routine – ending in hair-raising drop back to earth, and Kyle Raftery and April Dawson’s unicycle adagio (a highlight from last year’s show) – which was simply beautiful.
Women feature strongly in this year’s line-up as Dawson, Sharon Gruenert and Spenser Inwood demonstrating their prowess, in their balancing and an aerial act set to a driving rock score, while a clothes-swapping routine featuring Wilson and Dawson ensures that Circus Oz’s roots in political satire is not that far away in their collective psyche
Dale Woodbridge-Brown comes into his own, not only as a skilful juggler and tumbler, but as a convivial host, taking the reins as MC, boldly stating he’s the latest triple threat, “gay, indigenous and adopted”, and a new addition to the Circus Oz troupe, Robbie Curtis brings the swoon factor to the Big Top in an impressive juggling act. Sam Aldham and Flip Kammerer round out the ensemble in their own special way.
Laurel Franks stunning costumes, as always, provide a mix of the past and present, while Ania Reynolds (musical director) on keyboards, and at times, bari-saxophone, with Ben Hendry on the drums, and support from the Circus Oz ensemble, provide a quirky musical backdrop that is fun and lively, that keeps the show moving along.
Take the kids, grab some popcorn, and sit back and enjoy the rough and tumble ride that is Circus Oz. It’s definitely a fun-filled family night out!
Circus Oz Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 16 June 2016 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 10 July 2016
Information and Bookings: www.circusoz.com
Image: Circus Oz ensemble – photo by Rob Blackburn
Review: Rohan Shearn