The Navigators

Queens Wharf Square, Wellington

25/02/2009 - 07/03/2009

Victoria Square, Christchurch

23/01/2009 - 31/01/2009

Splore Living Lounge, Tapapakanga Regional Park,

20/02/2010 - 20/02/2010

Waitangi Park, Wellington

03/03/2010 - 09/03/2010

Production Details


Fuse Circus Presents:

The Navigators

An outdoor circus adventure!

Christchurch: (As part of the World Buskers Festival)

Dates: 23 – 31 Jan 1pm alternating 1.50pm daily, 9.30pm each night, 1 Feb 11.20am
Venue: Victoria Square, Christchurch
Tickets: Koha event
Duration: 90 min
Websites: |

Wellington: (As part of the Summer City Festival and the Fringe)

Dates: 25 Feb – 7 Mar 8pm, Matinees 28 Feb, 7 Mar 2pm, No show: 2 Mar
Venue: Queens Wharf Square, Wellington
Tickets: Koha Event
Duration: 90 min
Websites: | |

This summer, Fuse Circus, creators of the acclaimed Gravity and Other Myths and Heavenly Burlesque are proud to roll out their new work for 2009.  Journey to a new world with their outdoor circus show: "The Navigators". Taking over Queens Wharf Square as part of the Summer City and Fringe Festivals, The Navigators is sure to sweep Wellington crowds up in its excitement!

The Navigators is a rip-roaring circus adventure inspired by our sea-faring ancestors and our identity as an island nation. Full of spectacular circus magic, danger and death defying stunts, this show will whirl you along with a group of intrepid explorers who voyage into unknown seas searching for new worlds, for treasure, and for the meaning of life.

The cast includes some of the most talented circus performers in the country. These superb acrobatic athletes will have audiences under their spell as they nonchalantly dangle from ropes, climb to dizzying heights and throw themselves into the air.

Fuse circus performers, no strangers to testing the boundaries of strength and physical performance; have melded together new techniques and dramatic circus tricks working under acclaimed theatrical director Willem Wassenaar.

To really flesh out the colourful characters in the show, the Fuse team have also brought in award winning Costume Designer Cathy Tree Harris. Cathy says  
"Circus costuming has its own set of demands.  Being extremely physical, it can restrict design in some areas, but that challenge can result in other areas really opening up.  Getting the opportunity to create things you wouldn’t normally in the usual theatre and film jobs is a lot of fun.  To see my creations flying and sparkling from the sky, adds a whole other dimension to the job, they can become a character in themselves, and that’s a wonderful feeling!"

Tom Beauchamp, Fuse founder and performer is proud of the direction the company is taking:
"The Navigators reflects our real life voyage, we are leaping out into new areas of performance, learning new skills and adding depth and colour to the already exciting performance medium of circus. We are extremely passionate about our work and we’re dedicated to developing it to an international level.  In this stormy financial climate, we are artists voyaging bravely into the world."

The Navigators takes you to a place where you are on the brink, and about to fly! Journey through storms as acrobats soar above you, fall in love with the odd crew of the Fuse Circus rig, and laugh at their antics as they try to reach their individual and collective destinations.

Keep any eye out for the show when it hits Wellington at Queens Wharf in February for its outdoor season in Summer City Festival and as part of the Wellington Fringe.  Fuse Circus also produced Gravity and Other Myths, (winner Best Outdoor Show Fringe 2007) a firm favourite of Wellington crowds for the last two years, so get there early to get a prime spot, take a picnic and a blanket.

Fuse Circus is a Wellington based company that specialises in fast -paced spectacularly visual circus/cabaret entertainment. Following the road testing of The Navigators at the World Buskers Festival, Fuse Circus will take over Queens Wharf in Wellington in Feb /March 09 with the official Premiere of the show for the Summer City and Wellington Fringe Festivals.


The Navigators
Fuse Circus
Saturday 20 February 2010 at 11pm 
Splore Living Lounge
Tapapakanga Regional Park
South East Auckland 

Fringe 2010
Waitangi Park
Wed 3 Mar – Sat 9 Mar, 7.45pm
Sat 9 & Sun 10, also at 4pm.

In upcoming exciting events, Fuse Circus will then move into a CNZ funded creative development project with the explosive contemporary percussion group Strike!

For more information on the Strike! The Fuse project visit

Fuse Circus performers:
Mason West - the Cabin Boy
Tanya Drewery - the Scarlet Woman
Laura Hudson - the Lady
Rowan Heydon-White - her maid/little sister
Tom Beauchamp - Merchant / Smuggler / Trader of Fortune

Theatre Director: Willem Wassenaar
Circus Trainers: Deb Pope, Emmy
Costumier: Cathy Tree Harris
Sound Design: Thomas Press 

Brawn, brass and sassiness

Review by Shanon O'Sullivan 22nd Feb 2010

As the Splore music and arts festival charges into its second evening of action, a costumed aerial rig just east of the Living Lounge becomes a vibrant arena as spectators take a seat on the grass bank overlooking the bay. What follows are heart stopping acrobatics, raucous banter, and frills and spills that encapsulate Fuse Circus’s extravaganza, The Navigators. 

A makeshift ship with rigging and sails sets the scene as a mix ’n’ match band of passengers and crew navigate the high seas in search of land. With comical and dramatic undertones throughout, this show dazzles as its performers demonstrate feats of dare devil proportions. Three vivacious women and two strapping young men cavort and tease one another during their adventures and the enthusiastic crowd goes along for the ride. 

The strength, skill and precision of the cast are evident. The women scale long yards of cloth (the ship’s sails) suspended from above. After weaving their torsos around the cloth they flip, spin and fall like raindrops to the ground below. As the trapeze comes into play, performers execute death-defying actions with style and ease. Two performers fly suspended through the air, one drops, the other catches and they skim over one another effortlessly on the trapeze, all the while smiling enthusiastically.

From one striking stunt to the next the audience gasps and then applauds as performers move with agility and precision through each routine. An assortment of catchy light hearted tunes enhances the mood.  

Wrestling, somersaults, powerful balancing acts and hoola hoop manoeuvres are woven throughout the show with brawn, brass and sassiness. However, amidst remarkable acrobatics the storyline is vague at times, and the correlation between stunts and dialogue is often indistinct. Yet the dynamic presence and panache of the performers ensures the audience is held captivated and entertained.

Receptive spectators provide plenty of cheering and clapping and the atmosphere buzzes. As the show nears its, end the grand finale leaves us in no doubt we have seen a high quality acrobatic performance from a group of talented professionals. To validate this, the crowd not only roars with applause but a standing ovation ensues.

Not having seen a performance of this kind for some time, it produces a wow factor. Noting a mixed crowd of children and adult spectators, The Navigators most assuredly appeals to all ages. As a young child was overheard commenting after the show, “That was really cool!” 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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High drama and low comedy enriches splendid spectacle

Review by John Smythe 26th Feb 2009

There is nothing like a bit of character, relationship content and story context to take circus acts to another level. Fuse Circus’s The Navigators is a quantum leap from their earlier skill demonstration shows.

The Queens Wharf Square with its ‘sails’ is the ideal setting for this wacky shipboard show devised by the cast and directed by Willem Wassenaar with circus training from Deb Pope & Emmy, splendid costumes by Cathy Tree Harris, a stunning sound design by Thomas Press and excellent lighting (Tom Beauchamp & Willem Wassenaar).

As the Cabin Boy, who either gives himself orders or is channelling the voice of the unseen captain of the ‘Dry Rot’, Mason West could complain less about the audience’s lack of response (you’ve got to earn it Boy) but he keeps the show cracking along and his prowess with whatever he turns himself to – mostly involving acrobatics, balancing and juggling – is extraordinary.

Laura Hudson’ tea-sipping Lady and Rowan Heydon-White’s Lady’s Maid/Companion become wonderfully entangled in the hoisting sails and, as the voyage proceeds, enrich their spectacular aerial work by bringing their mistress/servant relationship into play.

As the Scarlet Woman who prefers the bottle to a teacup, Tanya Drewery brings a feisty quality to her wide range of skills: aerial, hoops and whip-cracking, not to mention screeching vocals. Her relationship with the Cabin Boy adds interest and comedy opportunities and could be developed further.  

Tom Beauchamp, a founder of Fuse and the company strong man in more ways than one, comes on board as a dodgy Merchant type with a treasure map, which is sort of coveted by others (and again, more could be made of that). When he’s not anchoring balancing acts or swinging high as a catcher he’s a tireless climber, counter-weighting the aerialists.

Highly skilled individuals all, they also work superbly as a team, which of course is essential when you are defying gravity and trusting each other to be there for you. Admirable!

There is high drama amid a storm and low comedy to add to the spectacle and fun – and it’s free! Except when the site of the treasure is finally discovered … be prepared to dig deep. They’re worth it.


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Dazzling accomplishment cleverly laced with true theatre

Review by Lindsay Clark 25th Jan 2009

With the Buskers’ Festival in full swing’ audiences can afford to be ruthlessly selective as to where they lean or recline. To the credit of this enterprising group of circus acrobat-artists from Wellington (lucky Wellington), the big lawn was comfortably full for the performance I attended. Slow to respond to the initial warm up exercise, the audience pretty soon settled to rapt attention.

The notion of a voyage sets the scene for adventures in the ‘sails’ and crow’s nest very neatly and the soaring figures framed by the stage structure against a background of green summer willows are a captivating prospect. At some stage as the minutes pass, the impossible, gravity -defying acts seem less remarkable but the verve and nerve of the five performers is unmistakable.

Their success lies as much in their theatricality as in their extraordinary physicality. For a start there is only the lowly cabin boy preparing the Dry Rot for departure but once he has succeeded in ringing the ship’s bell (way up in the sky somewhere and with one foot), a lusty ‘ All aboard’, is given. This brings the rest on deck and the voyage in search of new worlds is underway.

Of course the focus is squarely on aerial feats, augmented by some fine balance and hoop work, but there is also room for lightly sketched characterisation and dramatic make believe. For example a storm brings opportunities for controlled mayhem and the idea of treasure at the end of the hour sets of another round of joyous abandon.

The overwhelming impression they leave is of a group cleverly lacing dazzling accomplishment in the air with something more akin to true theatre, for they claim more than our fascinated gaze. In playing so wholeheartedly from their imagination they invite a response in kind.

Let us hope they come south again.


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