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GREAT SHOW, AMAZING SKILLS...

Print Version
Photo by Andy Phillipson
Photo by Andy Phillipson
New Zealand Festival 2014
Beyond
Created by Yaron Lifschitz with the Circa Ensemble
Director Yaron Lifschitz
Producer Danielle Kellie

at Opera House, Wellington
From 8 Mar 2014 to 16 Mar 2014
[70 mins]

Reviewed by Jillian Davey, 9 Mar 2014


This is a show with something for everyone, whether you like your contemporary circus mild and fuzzy or strong and sexy.  It was great to see such a range of ages; the most varied audience I've seen this Festival season by far.  And like any well-rounded show, it was all about the context the audience took it in.  The over-sized cartoon rabbit heads may have seemed creepy to some but were charming to the two little-ies a couple rows in front of me.  The struggle to get a tiny un-strung tennis racket around a well-muscled male could have been sexually suggestive (particularly when the handle gets to the hip area) but also hilarious; the shimmying and shaking of a bum in black silk is a sight to behold.

Though the tricks themselves were of the simpler kind, as far as circus goes, in this particular Circa (Australia) show, the audience didn't hold back from the gasps, ohh's and ahh's.  Particularly impressive were the contortion (such as Bridie Hooper's strangely stunning straps routine) and tumbling elements (Paul O'Keefe's prat falls and skull cracks against parts of the stage were quite convincing). 

As a cohesive show though, Beyond doesn't quite deliver.  The theme is clear: the exploration of human and animal behaviour and how different and similar they can be at times.  The performers are adept at showing some profound moments of a whole range of behaviours from the barking mad to the subtly beautiful. But we're bounced from part to part without crescendo or climax. The sections could have come in any order without changing the pace of the work.  I'm all for grasping on to the absurd, and circus as a medium can do wonders with it, but even the absurd can do with a bit of structure.

That being said, I don't think anyone could have walked out of the theatre saying they didn't like the show.  It really does hold something for everyone.  There will be, at the very least, one song or beautiful move, one touching act or one moment of craziness that will have your heart beating faster… wishing you could rush the stage to hug these wonderful human animals. 
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See also reviews by:
 Ann Hunt (The Dominion Post);
 Sharu Delilkan (TheatreScenes: The Auckland Theatre Blog);

Comments

John Smythe posted 13 Mar 2014, 10:15 PM
 

What a delighful experience this is. I thought I'd seen it all with circus acrobatics, poles, silks and trapeze. But this show is full of surprises.