Circa Humans 2.0 photo by David KellyAny performance by Circa is guaranteed to leave the viewer in awe, not only at the apparently infinite capacity of its artists to perform seemingly unbelievable physical feats, but also of the ability of its creator, Yaron Lifschitz and his collaborators to devise remarkable showcases to display those talents.

Over the years Lifschitz has been pushing the boundaries of physical theatre and acrobatics with his creations that have been lauded in concert halls and opera houses in Australia and internationally.

With Humans 2.0 he raises the bar even higher. It’s an abstract work apparently devoid of storyline or theme, but with the focus squarely on the skills and artistry of his ten virtuosic performers.

For Humans 2.0, Lifschitz eschews lavish costumes in favour of dancewear in a variety of clay colours teamed with transparent black overshirts which allow the artists the freedom they need to execute the endless combinations of gasp-inducing athletic manoeuvres he devises.

The performance commences dramatically. The ten performers who make up the tightly ensemble cast; Marty Evans, Rhiannon Cave Walker, Darby Sullivan, Chelsea Hall, Adam Strom, Asha Colless, Maya Davies, Sam Letch, Scott Grove, and Daniel O’Brien are first revealed lying on stage in a circle of light.

While still horizontal they begin to move, firstly in unison then in counterpoint, before becoming vertical when half the troupe mounts the shoulders of their colleagues. This troupe is nothing if not democratic with the women bearing as much of the physical weight and responsibility for the success of each manoeuvre as the men as they parade around the circumference of the circle, eventually dismounting with moves that are themselves spectacular and captivating.

The various segments follow each other without pause, some playful, for others the performers are locked in deep concentration. They push, pull and lift their own and their colleague’s bodies through a seemingly endless series complex and inventive moves, reacting to a compelling, repetitive soundscape composed by Ori Lichtik, and enhanced by clever lighting design by Paul Jackson.

During more than 70 minutes of non-stop virtuosic acrobatics, it’s easy to succumb to the beauty of the choreographed movement, while marvelling at the skill and complexity of the ensemble work.

The awareness that at any moment a misplaced limb or insecure grip could cause disaster is ever present, although offset by the cool confidence and concentration with which every member executes each seemingly impossible move while, quietly inspiring each other with encouraging smiles and glances.

Although not purporting to carry a message Humans 2.0 is a unique and gently subversive work which demonstrates by subtle example a world in which humans succeed in their endeavours by not confining each other to pre-conceived roles.

The Playhouse – Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, Canberra
Performance: Thursday 2 May 2024
Season: 2 – 4 May 2024 (ended)

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Humans 2.0 by Circa – photo by David Kelly

Review: Bill Stephens OAM