Fortunately circus has moved beyond the Ringling Bros-style shows of my youth to darker, more adult, narrative-driven spectacles such as the Moment of Inertia Productions ‘Hiraeth,’ which debuted at the 2017 Brisbane Anywhere Festival. Ty Fitzsimons (acrobat and clown), Kelsey Adams (aerial), Phoebe Manning (clown), and Nadia Jade (aerial apparatus and dangerous sideshow) impressed with this work by one of Brisbane’s newest “arts collectives.”
It was a wise decision to start slightly late (at 8:40pm), allowing the excited audience and performers from the earlier ‘Fusion’ show to disperse, and ensuring the ‘Hiraeth’ audience could fully concentrate on the unfurling spectacle. The audience walked through the ‘set’, into the darkened space, to the sound of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ Manning welcomed each of the spectators to the evening, handing out glass jars/shakers. And so we were all drawn into an hour of clowning, aerial, and dangerous sideshow acts.
The one hour program included Adams’ macramé-style aerial hoop, fire-eating and fascinating consumption by Jade, Fitzsimons’ rope acrobatics, and clowning by both Manning and Fitzsimons.
The standout performances of the evening were by Fitzsimons and by Jade. The acrobatic work on the rope by Fitzsimons was just superb; probably the best I have ever seen when climbing up the rope upside down, and some great ‘air walking.’ I was also greatly entertained by Fitzsimons’ clowning (I hope everyone gets to see his cautious gift-opening someday). Jade fascinated and revulsed an enthralled audience with the fire-, glass- and balloon-eating (with great supporting mime by the rest of the cast). And the mesmerising mixture of aerial silk with glass-walking was fabulous combination. Based on this show alone, Fitzsimons and Jade would certainly be useful additions to future Strut + Fret shows.
I loved the idea of interspersing the show with key words (each carefully defined): lacuna, hiraeth (defined here as ‘a longing, homesickness, for a place you cannot go or maybe never was’), liminality… (although a face-mic may have helped as Manning walked through the audience). Manning held our attention for the extended ‘Ingrid’ piece, but if I had been the director I would have ended the show with the aerial/glass, and perhaps have started with ‘Ingrid.’ But I’m not in charge.
Great set design, with words defined in chalk across the black back wall, and rows of seating arranged within the enclosed space so that everyone could see the show. And my congratulations to the sound and lighting team as the audio was a great compliment to the clowning, aerial, and sideshow performances.
A pity this team only had three performances at the 2017 Anywhere Festival. Fantastic value at only $15, so let’s hope they look for other festivals for the show.
The reviewer attended the 19th May 2017 (8:30pm) performance.
Tickets http://anywheretheatre.com/listings/hiraeth/ $15. 60 minutes. The show had only 3 performances during the 2017 Anywhere Festival (19th–21st May).