SISTERHOOD: A Circus Celebration

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

16/03/2021 - 17/03/2021

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Production Details

Tangata Circus Company

Sequins. Legwarmers. Sass. SISTERHOOD is an explosion of colour and music inspired by the bodacious beats of the 70’s and 80’s. After an award winning season last year, SISTERHOOD invites you back to the love shack for its combo of major attitude and thrilling circus skills.

When misfit Jackson stumbles upon an abandoned record player, 80’s divas Laura, Rhy and Sophia come alive to show him (and you) how blazin’ it is to be yourself. You’re gonna wanna get up offa that thing and join the rhythm nation after this one!

Audiences last year described it as “mesmerising” and “so much fun”, so come on down to funkytown – we’ll show you how to dance ’til you feel better!

Te Auaha, 65 Dixon Street
16 & 17 March 2021
General Admission $25.00
Concession $20.00
Fringe Addict $17.50
Group 6+ $22.50
Tickets available at  

SISTERHOOD is a 50 minute indoor circus-theatre show

Theatre , Circus , Music , Cirque-aerial-theatre ,

50 mins

The perfect show to whoop, holler, trill and clap to

Review by Emilie Hope 17th Mar 2021

Tangata Circus Company are back for another season of Sisterhood: A Circus Celebration, and you should check it out while you can!

Sisterhood plays strongly to the story adage ‘show don’t tell’, performing in mime, lip sync and good old feats of physical dexterity. When a young man (Jackson Cordery) stumbles upon an old record player, his girl-band idols (Sophia O’Connor, Laura Oakley, Rhyanne Vasta) come to life. Through dance and circus, the trio show the young man he can embrace who he is. 

All three of the girl-band performers have natural show-woman capabilities, their expressive faces enjoying lip syncing along to the funky songs they’ve chosen. Vasta’s smiling face drops to her concentrating face when commanding the cyr wheel – a massive metal hoola-hoop – and fair enough too! However, the other performers manage to keep their smiles for us when performing, so this is a bit jarring to me. This is probably down to opening night jitters.

Vasta is skilled with the cyr wheel, and when she lands her moves, the joy on her face is infectious and the applause is loud. Even when Vasta goes in for another go with a couple of specialised moves after a false start, the audience is very supportive, sending their admiration through applause. It’s not like any of us can do what she’s doing.

The performers each show off their skills to the audience. It seems O’Connor is a crowd favourite, performing hand-balancing and acrobatics. I can’t tell if this is because of her very sweet demeanour or because the stakes are very clear for the audience when she twists in the air and curls around her co-performer’s bodies. If she falls… Well, it’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

Even for your average audience member, like myself, there are a couple of close calls which made my gut twist – all, of course, within the controlled environment of professionals, so really there is nothing for us to fear. But we’re hooked anyway.

Oakley is a giving performer, pulling expressions with a whole lot of sass, enjoying her muscular body by slapping her leotard bottom a few times. She works the quiet crowd into a frenzy with her hoola-hoop magic (actual hoola-hoops this time, but sparkly). It’s truly incredible what this performer can do with some plastic rings.

Cordery himself also deserves a mention. His expressions, which begin being a mix of pain and delight, are extreme and dramatic. He tells us so much with his face and also his body. His transformation through the show is genuine and we love to see it. His invisible drum solo is also a thoroughly enjoyable moment.

The technical elements of the show were also stellar. The lighting (designed and operated by Connor Leach) is striking, dramatic and fun. The design is not afraid of colour, going from spotlights to colourful disco lights. The costumes by Fiona Johnston are perfectly balanced among the three women, and wonderfully 80s.  

Sisterhood is one of the few shows I’ve seen this Fringe which has a strong overarching message: be who you are and now is the time to be you. As a potentially unintentional metaphor of this, I am delighted to see by the end of the show, all the women are in bare feet while Cordery wears little black heels.

A small note to the audience who attend this show: be LOUD! If the performers do something you think is incredible (which is a lot of the time) then let them know! This is the perfect show to whoop, holler, trill and clap to.

Sisterhood will have you jiving in your seats, singing along to famous 70s and 80s songs, almost all with a theme of women empowerment. I, for one, had ‘Love Shack’ in my head for the rest of the night, and the next day it was ‘Boogie Wonderland’. Sisterhood is awesome fun for the whole family.


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