Zirkus Goes Bizurkus

BATS Theatre, Wellington

08/02/2006 - 11/02/2006

NZ Fringe Festival 2006

Production Details

Music composed by Rosie Langabeer

Come see the amazing, spectacular Zirkus band featuring special guests from Ake Ake Theatre, The International Poets Society, The Dog House and more! Be astounded by the big band that’s gone to the dogs!

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

1 hr

Chaos reigns at Bats

Review by John Smythe 30th Mar 2006

Despatch (see review) involves a gibberish that has its own distinctive cadence and is clearly intelligible to those who speak it. Also at Bats, the Zirkus Goes Bizurkus big band trades in a musical equivalent with mid-European tones that strongly evoke the circus.

Their default position, however, is non-communicating chaos until one instrument leads them towards the joys of form and structure. Variations on that theme form the basis of this one hour show.

The line-up is impressive: three vocalists, five reed players (mostly saxophones), three brass, four string strummers and pluckers (banjo, ukulele, two guitars), keyboards, double bass and drums, all augmented at times by the same players with wind (flutes, kazoos) and assorted percussion instruments (including spoons). These are clearly the ingredients for fun and pleasure.

The skill of the musicians is undoubted and perhaps it is part of composer and band leader Rosie Langabeer’s strategy to keep reminding us that these instruments can just make noise, which they do a great deal, until musicality draws them into a wholeness that transcends their component parts. I cannot report, however, that the pleasure this brings is equal and opposite to the sense of boredom that begins to permeate when chaos prevails for the umpteenth time.

All performance forms – and music most especially – usually find a rhythm and structure that elicit collective audience responses which seem spontaneous, even though they can be artfully manipulated. The opening night audience for Zirkus Goes Bizurkus was very ready to be responsive. But while some joker aloft running semi-legible "applaud" and "chaos reigns" signs on a long-winding pulley may be mildly amusing, it actually imposes on the audience’s right to react as they feel, and the performers’ right to establish a genuine rapport with them.

The stilt, aerial and clowning work was also poorly integrated, making skilled and usually impressive performers from Ake Ake Theatre Company seem under-rehearsed and awkward. I expect this part, at least, will improve as the short season proceeds although the lack of a director, as such, will make this harder.

Just because it’s a Fringe show that doesn’t mean it can be shoddy. There’s huge competition out there for the time and money of prospective punters.


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