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Review: Super Circus Squad

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Review: Super Circus Squad

Super Circus Squad is a great idea, well-executed, and just perfect for audiences young and old. Great outfits, good humour, enjoyable audience interaction, and some great physical theatre, trapeze, acrobatics, balance and ‘strength’ along the way. Feisty, feel-good chuckles, complete with a positive message, a strong female role-model, and suggestions as to how to handle those who are being mean to you when a visiting superhero isn’t on hand to come to your rescue.  Perfect for school fundraisers, educational treats, festivals and parties—and a great choice to include in the 2018 Anywhere Festival.

Pictured: Reece Cooper and Hannah Cryle. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Reece Cooper and Hannah Cryle. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Hannah Cryle and Reece Cooper—with additional support from superhero Rose and ‘villan-teer’ Matt Rowe—held the attention of their all age audience at the Queensland Maritime Museum on 20th May. The show ran for perhaps 40 minutes although, even during warm-up, Hannah maintained a positive interaction with the audience (an extra bonus, we learned, from watching an Anywhere Festival event).  Having captured the interest of the younger spectators, and explained that Super Circus Squad is a “superhuman story” where the audience get to choose the adventure (and where “everyone is allowed to have fun”), the performers were soon rewarded with squeals of laughter at their “pre-show ritual.”

The ‘opening credits’ for the show are a great idea—demonstrating some of the complementary skills of the performers (with strength and trapeze by Cryle, and acrobatics by Cooper), some well-observed humour, and (of course) superhero poses. The audience were kept on their toes by having to assist in naming their superheros (there is a ‘formula to such things, apparently), before hearing about some of the successful world-saving recently undertaken by (at our show) The Blue Boat and The Purple Blahblah. The ‘slow-motion galaxy’ story was not only great fun, but also an excellent demonstration of Cooper’s headstands and work on the handstand poles—as well as of the comedic skills of Cryle.

Pictured: Reece Cooper (L) and Rose. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Reece Cooper (L) and Rose. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

An important part of the show was the selection, naming and ‘training’ of the volunteers. On the 20th May, Rose proved a perfect superhero, great dancer, and future acrobat with charming interactions with fellow superhero The Blue Boat (Cooper). Cryle’s transformation of Matthew Rowe was very amusing, and we all now know the key traits of any cartoon anti-hero (Chief Executive Officer, Queensland Maritime Museum, who proved to be a general good sport as co-opted villan-teer for our show).

The show had a great finale, integrating trapeze, strength and acrobatics in a ‘duet’ between Cryle and Cooper, and closing with a reminder of a useful technique for dealing with everyday villains (or, at least those who are trying to be mean to you). Leaving just enough time for a picture with your favourite superhero before going off to find some ice-cream.

Pictured: Hannah Cryle and Reece Cooper. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Hannah Cryle and Reece Cooper. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Verdict: Great fun. Feisty, feel-good chuckles that everyone can enjoy (and a positive message to take away).  

Audience tip: Seek this one out at future festivals.

Only three performances during Anywhere Festival 2018: Montessori International College, Forest Glen (11am on 13th and 19th May), and Queensland Maritime Museum 3pm, 20th May).

Tickets were available at the Anywhere Festival website. $10. Suitable for audiences of any age.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Saturday 19th May (7:30pm) performance.

Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

 

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Review: The Happy Prince

Prince  (Courtney Turner, Director) and  Swallow  (Gemma Sharpe), in  The Happy Prince , at the  State Library of Queensland , as part of the  2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival .  Picture credit:   Geoff Lawrence .

Prince (Courtney Turner, Director) and Swallow (Gemma Sharpe), in The Happy Prince, at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the 2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival.  Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

 

The Happy Prince was advertised as being ‘suitable for children 4+ years and anyone who wishes they could fly’, so I met the entry criteria. I arrived as a curious member of the audience, and left having been completely charmed and entertained. I was not the only one. For a short run of only six shows, the Parlour at the  was filled with lots of very happy princes and princesses (and their parents).  

Oscar Wilde’s short story, The Happy Prince, may have first been published over 120 years ago, but it was brought to life on May 10th, 2015.  The Happy Prince is a moral story, with moments of both joy and sadness. A lively Swallow helps the Prince to transform the city below—putting friendship, and a concern for others, ahead of his desire to reach the warmer Egyptian climate. There were a number of children who moved closer to their parents as the performance unfolded, but all left with big smiles, and the occasional skip in their step.

The Perth-based Toy Soldier Children’s Theatre Company are to be congratulated for creating an event which appeared to be a perfect transition from family story-time to theatre-going. From the moment of their arrival, each member of the audience was welcomed to a special occasion. Adults and children all elected to be measured up for their own paper crown, and each carefully took on the responsibility of carrying a special feather as they were escorted to their seats. As the show began, and during many of the quieter moments of the performance, you could have heard a pin (or feather) drop. Everyone was spell-bound—enjoying the beautiful moves of the Swallow and energetic performance of the talented Gemma Sharpe. Courtney Turner was not only a skilled producer and director of the show, but is also to be congratulated for standing in at the last minute to replace Maja Liwszyc (who was unwell on Sunday 10th May).

Prince (Courtney Turner, Director) and Swallow (Gemma Sharpe), in The Happy Prince, at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the 2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

Prince (Courtney Turner, Director) and Swallow (Gemma Sharpe), in The Happy Prince, at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the 2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

The performance included ample opportunity for audience participation: energetic story-writing with a feather quill, acting as Egyptian mummies, and applauding the audience volunteer (well done Matt) who acted as the match-girl. The cast were available at the end of the performance for “dress-ups” and pictures with the performers, which was a lovely touch.

Prince (Courtney Turner, Director), in The Happy Prince, at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the 2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

Prince (Courtney Turner, Director), in The Happy Prince, at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the 2015 Brisbane Anywhere Festival. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence.

Director/Producer (Courtney Turner) and Gemma Sharpe, together with their behind-the-scenes team, created a charming, gentle, magical event which entertained an enraptured audience at the State Library.

The set was suitable for a travelling production—sparse but sufficient, in combination with the costumes, to spark our imaginations (set/costume by Kelsey Cross). CD’s of the story and music were available on the day to fund further travels of the Company (music specially composed by Brisbane-based Richard Grantam and Wayne Jennings). I managed to see the show in its last performance, but let’s hope that it will soon come back to Brisbane so that a wider audience gets the opportunity to enjoy The Happy Prince.

 Catherine Lawrence

  

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