There is nothing more exciting than wandering along the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River on a brisk June evening as the white Circus Oz Big Top comes into view. We know we are in for rough and tumble ride, and none more so in their latest offering But Wait…There’s More.
Making its world premiere under the Big Top at Birrarung Marr and the first show to be develop in its new home in Collingwood, But Wait…There’s More features a mostly new ensemble and creative team in an astonishing mix of ‘infobesity, acceleration, choice-mania and consumanity’.
On entering the Big Top, audiences are greeted with the spectacular proscenium designed by Felipe Reynolds, that is reminiscent of a by-gone era. Taking up the rear of the stage, it is a fitting backdrop, allowing the ensemble plenty of room to play.
Under the direction of Debra Iris Batton, But Wait…There’s More come across as earnest, that is compounded by a weak narrative and over-zealous political correctness. While Circus Oz draws on its years of Aussie irreverence, history and culture, some acts are not fully explored and transitions are awkwardly executed.
Some of the strongest elements are the ensemble work including the trapeze and the Chinese Pole, while individual highlights include Kyle Raftery and April Dawson’s unicycle duet – which was simply beautiful and a joy to watch, Lilikoi Kaos amazes as she effortlessly spins an extraordinary amount of hoops around her body, and Nathan Kell tumbles and dives through hoops and a television screen in a video game inspired sequence.
Olivia Porter comes into her own with her own-take on juggling, Matt Wilson demonstrates his versatility as a performer from acrobats to a rousing rendition of More penned by Casey Bennetto, though disappointingly, Casey Bowers seemed over-whelmed by her surrounds, delivering a under-whelming and at times inaudible performance. Spenser Inwood, Dale Woodbridge-Brown and Scott Hone round out the ensemble in their unique way.
Laurel Franks costumes, as always, provide a bit of whimsy, while keyboardist, Ania Reynolds with Ben Hendry on the drums, and support from the Circus Oz ensemble provide a quirky musical backdrop that is fun and keeps the show moving along.
While a fun night out and with some ‘tweaking’, But Wait…There’s More could be a much stronger show. Melbourne audiences have been spoilt in recent times with shows such as Spiegelworld’s Empire that are slick and allows the acts to speak for themselves. But Wait…There’s More promises a lot, but only fleetingly delivers.
But Wait…There’s More
Circus Oz Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
Season continues to 13 July 2014
Bookings: 13 61 00 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
For more information, visit: www.circusoz.com for details.
Image: Dale Woodbridge-Brown, Lilikoi Kaos and Candy Bowers – photo by Rob Blackburn
Review: Rohan Shearn