NICA Dispersion - photo by Sean Paris PhotographyDispersion is a showcase courtesy of the second-year students at the National Institute of Circus Arts. But, it’s refreshing more than a kinetic, often acrobatic, occasionally death-defying recital.

Playing out is lovely, stylised storytelling that doesn’t so much deal in linear, crisp beat-by-beat narrative, as does in pulsating, big brushstrokes of emotion and theme. There are two primitive groups that come into conflict at the beginning, moving against and in-spite of each other, before eventually finding reconciliation at the end, along with no shortage of fun.

As the action takes to the air, tightrope, or just juggles, the performers are supported by a terrific live band: Chris Lewis (drums), Kathleen Halloran (guitar), and Jenny Game-Lopata (saxophone) are a stunning, other-worldly trio that sound like some beautiful mooshing together of Angelo Badalamenti and Donny McCaslin.

Whether the work was taking place off the ground or not, the music helped lift the overall show into some beautiful sonic territory.

Directors Meredith Kitchen and Zebastion Hunter make the wise choice to not only end the show with laughter, but to sprinkle these not-so-abstract moments of larks and hijinks throughout (you wouldn’t think there’d be much that could be done with an awkward, oversized cylinder, but this show will prove you wrong).

To watch each performer demonstrate, not only their skills with a particular physical discipline, but just their raw ability to tell a story with nothing but their bodies was a privilege.

NICA National Circus Centre, Green Street, Prahran
Performance: Wednesday 19 June 2019
Season: 19 – 22 June 2019
Information: www.nica.com.au

Image: Dispersion – photo by Sean Paris Photography

Review: David Collins