You & I is a great concept, and an excellent piece of theatre. The premise of the show is deceptively simple. It’s raining, which means that plans to go out are abandoned and you’re stuck at home with your husband. Fortunately, this is not a day for household chores, as this particular couple spend a loving and tender hour tumbling, hooping, lifting, spinning, dancing and playing together.
Circus certainly lends itself to providing a window into a loving relationship—particularly if you are a married couple, and are two of the co-founders of Casus Circus. Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay’s partnership extends beyond the professional to the personal, which means that the You & I includes powerful strength, great tumbling and control, amazing and memorable trapeze, and a very special twist on the stacking chairs. This piece is also funny, playful, and tender; after all, who hasn’t struggled to walk in heels, had fun exploring dress-up boxes, or wanted to tango in quite such an intimate way.
You & I is a highly-personal piece, as it is co-created by the two performers in every sense of the phrase. From lighting and soundtrack choices through to trick selection and set design, Scott and McAulay are in control, which means the piece is authentic and every detail thought through (even down to the careful wood-carving and rope-splicing). The lighting, soundtrack and set all complemented the work. The soundtrack is well-chosen (for example, Jamey Johnson’s version of You Are My Sunshine was a perfect choice for Scott’s solo trapeze piece), and the set establishes a home environment that is used to great effect.
As skilled circus performers, McAulay and Scott have ensured that this personal show is jam-packed with tricks—drawing gasps of delight, amazement and even incomprehension from the audience (look out for Scott’s walking on ‘top-toe’—a whole new spin on the traditional tip-toes). It’s difficult to choose just one high-point, but I’m certain that everyone went way talking about the trapeze duet that culminated in McAulay’s exceptionally fast spin below Scott.
Serious circus is a welcome trend, moving away from the trick—ta-dah—applause model, to storytelling through circus. In the last few years, I have seen some very serious circus pieces that have been used to consider many challenging subjects. It’s refreshing to see how McAulay and Scott push the boundaries by creating a story that is positive, loving, and full of hope. Audiences are all the richer for a show which provides a highly-relateable window into a loving relationship. Few of us will live in a yurt, and even fewer will have two trapeze bars hanging from the ceiling. And none of us are likely to even be able to tango with the same precision and focus. But we can all relate to a love story.
A year on from its first performances, the show continues to evolve. So definitely one to look out for again. Just make sure you get to see it during this short 2019 Brisbane Festival run.
Verdict: You & I is a show for all audiences. A great piece of theatre, with some exceptional circus skills.
Audience notes: 60 minutes. All ages. Seating at The Block (Theatre Republic) is theatre-style, raked seating. Consider queueing to sit nearer to the front if you can. Strictly six performances only during the 2019 Brisbane Festival performances—24-28 September 2019 (1:00pm & 5:00pm shows on 28 September 2019; 7:30pm shows 24-27 September). Tickets are $20-35 (plus booking fee, note that the Festival uses ‘airline pricing’ for the Show, so select the lowest available price on booking).
The reviewer attended the Wednesday 25 September 2019 performance (7:30pm), and post-show Q&A.
Q&A Picture Credit: Creative Futures Photography