In knitting, casting off is a way to remove a stitch from a knitting needle so that your work doesn’t become unravelled. I think we were supposed to take the words of the three women of circus show Casting Off as instruction so that our lives are similarly protected from unravelling.
Coming to us from an Edinburgh Fringe season, the show is performed by the “three generations of dynamic women” of A GooD Catch company. Casting Off is referenced in the show’s design by tablecloths and some yarn bombing around table legs. It’s also seen in the performers’ costumes, an amusing take on this aspect of a circus show.
The flier promised “Intergenerational circus with lots to say, where the personal is political, the furious is funny…” Some of the banter seemed to be just cast into the air, being unclear in intent and not making much impact as a consequence. Perhaps some more thought on where to position reflections might increase their effect.
At other times this is done far better. When you’re atop a tower of performers and chairs, yes, it does seem natural to cast your mind back on regrets and aspirations, and in the case of the troupe’s eldest member at the very top, seek to dispense some wisdom on tricky situations.
The show features a lot of tumbling, with the group working well together to lend a hand in ensuring some solid balancing and snappy flips. There were some moments of impressive strength and speed, such as in a trapeze segment with no safety strap or net. The trio manage to find some amusingly original configurations with the help of household furniture.
At times I thought the show might have had a bit too much talking and not quite enough action. However, Casting Off was often an entertaining hour, and a novel outlet for presenting circus skills. It’s a good start to a night of inspecting the offerings at the northside’s circus hub, the Circus Oz complex in Collingwood.
Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Performance: Thursday 20 September 2018 – 6:30pm
Season continues to 23 September 2018
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Casting Off features Spenser Inwood, Sharon Gruenert and Debra Batton (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte