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circus

Review: Statum

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Review: Statum

It looks as if Flipside Circus have another hit on their hands. And of course, as skilled circus practitioners, ‘on their hands’ is a feature of Statum, a production that includes a witty take on different types of ‘walking on hands.’  

The title of the show is suitably intriguing, bringing to mind everything from data points through to health status and the components of The State. Apparently ‘statum’ is the singular of the word status, and the word can also be translated as meaning to stand still or firm (fortunately there are on-line Latin to English translations available). Let’s just say that Statum is a blend of all of the above, and more.

Although the show starts with a wealth of data—provided by the ‘big brother’ voice—the artists gradually move from being “the performers” (obeying the disembodied instructions, and undertaking various challenges) to being named individuals who share information about their concerns, things they find difficult to do, and even the list of what they have eaten today.

 
Picture :  Statum  is a ‘must see’ for fans of circus and acrobatics, and also for videographers and self-proclaimed geeks.  Picture Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Picture: Statum is a ‘must see’ for fans of circus and acrobatics, and also for videographers and self-proclaimed geeks. Picture Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

 

The Flipside performance troupe are credited as performers and creators (Mia Hughes, Tula Homes, Zebedee Davies, Eden Vann, Oscar Morris, Samantha Giles, Cassidy Burke, Lucy Hunterland, Aurora Bennett-Godde and Indra Garvey). They each have the chance to shine with a menu of tricks that includes with excellent balance, controlled headstands, some amazing jumps flips and rolls (particularly by Oscar Morris), focused floor bouncing/juggling (Cassidy Burke), skipping and great aerial (Aurora Bennett-Godde), and strength. The troupe also work well together, often when required to stand still or support a fellow artist. The work is polished and professional, benefiting from the experience of the Flipside trainers and creatives (main trainer/creator: Aliya Abisheva), and from the confident and focused performances of the artists. What is even more impressive is that all of the performers are under 18, and they each make important contributions to the show (including the youngest member of the troupe, Eden Vann, who is a confident and focused performer—with great ‘hand walking,’ some very fast spinning and skipping ‘rope’ work, and quite fabulous ‘crowd surfing’/rolling).  

 
Pictured : Fast skipping (Aurora Bennett-Godde) and controlled floor bouncing/juggling (Cassidy Burke).  Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Fast skipping (Aurora Bennett-Godde) and controlled floor bouncing/juggling (Cassidy Burke). Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured : Flipside & Counterpilot selfies, balance and strength.  Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Flipside & Counterpilot selfies, balance and strength. Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

 

Statum is not only a show that should be on the ‘must see’ list for fans of circus and acrobatics. Nathan Sibthorpe (Counterpilot Director/video co-design/creator) and Robert Kronk (Flipside’s Director/dramaturg/creator)—with the support of their co-creatives, Jeremy Gordon, Christine Felmingham, Sarah Winter, John Felmingham, Clinton Freeman, Kelsey Booth—have created a show that is a ‘must see’ for videographers and self-proclaimed geeks. Statum is a technically complex piece, integrating projections (including ‘live-streaming’ of video from cameras and phones) with audio and data from other sources (including an ‘accelerometer’ and heart-rate monitors). We came away marvelling at the integration of the circus and technology, which makes it a show worth seeing more than once (to catch all of the special details).  
Another reason to book tickets for at least two shows is that it’s not all serious. There were many chuckles along the way, particularly as the audience participation is well-judged and often funny. The mini-competitions were a great way to share factual information, and to incorporate the different data points. And we certainly picked up a lot of random information on the way. Did you know that pigs can’t look up? That ‘now’ is an illusion? And.… well.. you’ll just have to see the Show.

 
Pictured : Oscar Morris, in full-flight.  Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Oscar Morris, in full-flight. Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

 

After only an hour, Statum drew to a close to the sound of Superorganism’s Everybody Wants To Be Famous (excellent Audio/sound design by Mike Willmett). We realise that we are ‘staring at stars’: individual Flipside stars, who together have been “part of something bigger.”

“We see you,” Flipside. And we hope that Statum is the sellout it deserves to be.

Verdict: A Mesmerising integration of circus, data and video. See it while you can.

Audience tip: General admission, so arrive in time to select a central seat if you can. 10+ with some strobe lighting. The Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre run is 17-27 October 2019: Wed-Fri 7pm; Sat 2pm & 7pm; Sun 2pm). 65 minutes. Tickets are $24.50 (adult), or $18 (groups of 6+, or concession). Note: All ticket sales incur an additional $6.60 transaction fee.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the preview night performance (7pm, Thursday 17 October 2019).

Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography

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Review: Inertia, The First Law

Congratulations to the team at Anywhere Festival for attracting interstate and international acts for the 2019 Festival. The program for 2019 included a new work by Sydney-based RelativityMC. Inertia: The First Law is set in the Plant Room at Flipside Circus, which provides a pared-back environment and an intimate space in which to experience the Show. The three performers—Fin Casey (Moose), Maddison Costello, and Megan Casey—have together developed a piece is part circus (strength, acrobatics, dance, and balance), part original music and song, and part science lesson.

Don’t be put off by my mentioning science. This is a compelling piece of circus that demonstrates their combined versatility; from the raw energy required for some very taxing pieces of balance, through to their controlled ability to sing and share facts about laws of motion.

Pictured: Fin Casey jumping onto Megan Casey's back in   Inertia: The First Law   .  Picture credit:  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Fin Casey jumping onto Megan Casey's back in Inertia: The First Law. Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

And it all made for some very memorable moments.  I winced as Moose jumped onto Megan’s back (twice), I marvelled at Moose’s jump from the top of the piano, I was impressed by Megan’s ability to sing after a particularly strenuous piece of acrobatics, and I enjoyed Maddison’s ability to do the splits (or balance on fellow performers’ heads) as well as to play the piano while balanced on her head.

The lighting was well-thought through (a nice touch with the red gel for Casey’s standing back-flip), the music added to the experience (with the home-built piano very literally incorporated in many of the moves), and I came away reflecting on the laws of motion, of balance and of circus. Yes, as an Anywhere event it would have been great to experience this in a music room or a science classroom—but perhaps this will come in a future development of the Show.

It’s a pity that Brisbane audiences only have three opportunities to see this new work. I am sure Sydney audiences will be lining up to see the piece when the performers return home.

Pictured: The cast of  Inertia: The First Law  (Megan Casey and Fin Casey, supporting Maddison Costello). Picture credit:  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: The cast of Inertia: The First Law (Megan Casey and Fin Casey, supporting Maddison Costello). Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Verdict: Circus as science lesson, music as circus, science with song. A fascinating exploration of balance and motion.

Audience tip: Tickets for Inertia: The First Law available on the Anywhere Festival Website ($18). The 40-minute Show has a very short run of only three nights (15-18 May, 2019: 7pm).

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Friday 17 May 2019 performance (7pm), Flipside Circus, 117 Mina Parade, Alderley.

Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

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Review: Hold My Beer

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Review: Hold My Beer

Hold My Beer is a fun, fast-paced 60-minutes that is a circus and live music homage to some of the many things that seem to happen in pubs or at parties. From the designated driver ‘selection’ and drinking games, though to the looking-after-your-mates check-ups and balance competitions… and everything in-between (fortunately, at this show, without the vomiting and hangovers). All with great acrobatic flair and well-chosen musical numbers—where the musicians (Kristy Stanfield and Sheldon Jadamson) also try out their circus moves, and the circus performers (Regan Henry, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Kelsey Adams) demonstrate their versatility and musical skills.

Picture : Regan Henry, Kelsey Adams, Sheldon Jadamson, Kristy Stanfield and Elyse Fitzpatrick, in Hold My Beer ( Creative Futures Photography ).

Picture: Regan Henry, Kelsey Adams, Sheldon Jadamson, Kristy Stanfield and Elyse Fitzpatrick, in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

This is a fun 60-minutes—for the performers and audience alike. There were a number of ‘wow’ moments (yes, there were gasps from the audience at times), applause for some great balance and strength work, and a lot of laughter. It was the first time I have seen a pub arm-wrestle include head balancing, the ‘juggling acrobats’ was great fun (and not just for Sheldon), and the frenzied ‘change places’ was as impressive as it was fast.  One of many highlights of the evening was the ‘carne sutra’—or what can happen when you have consumed sufficient shots to try to pick up  that attractive person at the other end of the bar (here including a very literal pick up). But there was also hoola-hooping, bottle-manipulation (I feel Kelsey had watched the film Cocktail?), snooker-cue balancing and of course the exceptionally difficult put-your-finger-on-your-nose-and-stand-on-one-leg trick (which Reagan took to another level).

Picture (L to R):  Regan Henry, Kristy Stanfield (with accordion) and Elyse Fitzpatrick in  Hold My Beer  (Creative Futures Photography).

Picture (L to R): Regan Henry, Kristy Stanfield (with accordion) and Elyse Fitzpatrick in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

The music added a special twist to the evening—with some great accordion work, piano, guitar and trumpet-playing. Some of the tunes were recognisable (particularly the three/ten-part audience singing!), with the words of most songs tailored to the show. I loved the a capella singing (to the clapping rhythm that included glasses on the ‘bar’), although quite how everyone had enough breath after the previous 50-minutes is beyond me.

Performing a fast-paced show in a small space is not without challenges (more space for run-ups occasionally required, and we all worried that there might occasionally be insufficient headroom for the acrobatics). But I am sure that, with more performances, this team of five talented artists can only improve on what is a great concept, and an already great show.

The 9 May, 2019 performance took place in Open House, a new arts/creative venue, adjacent to the popular Vulture Street bar, The End. The performers worked the room—including audience participation (get ready to limbo)—and had thought through the impact of the shape of the space on sight-lines. Some of the action took place closer to the audience members standing at the back of the room, but it is definitely worth arriving early and queuing to get in, as the seating area is not raked. Sitting close to the main stage (the black mats) will give you the best possible view of the acrobatic moves—although you will be near the bar if you are at the back.

There are only four remaining performances  of Hold My Beer in the 2019 Anywhere Festival program—one at The End, and a further three at Bloodhound. I’d be interested to know if many of those 260 tickets are still available. Buy one if you can.

Picture (L to R):  Sheldon Jadamson, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Kelsey Adams, Regan Henry (near ceiling), and Kristy Stanfield in  Hold My Beer (   Creative Futures Photography)  .

Picture (L to R): Sheldon Jadamson, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Kelsey Adams, Regan Henry (near ceiling), and Kristy Stanfield in Hold My Beer (Creative Futures Photography).

Verdict: A great cocktail of acrobatic skill and live music. Buy a ticket if you can, and get there early to get the best view.

Audience tip: Buy ahead (don’t risk being yet another person arriving to be told that no, they cannot ‘just’ fit one more person into the room). Queue to get seat at the front. If you get the chance, take a seat as close to the main ‘stage’ (the black mats) as possible. 60 minutes, adult themes (including references to drinking games).

 

Catherine Lawrence, perspectives

The reviewer attended the Thursday 9 May 2019 Opening Night (7:00pm), at Open House (adjacent to The End), 73 Vulture Street, West End, Brisbane.

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Review: Elixir

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Review: Elixir

First, book this show. Then, pop back here to read the review before you get down to the Brisbane Powerhouse. Elixir is a great tonic, with a mesmerising mix of acrobatics, balancing, beatbox, breakdance, comedy, cyr wheel, dance, juggling, ladder, physical theatre, slapstick, strength, teeterboard, trapeze, tumbling and even whip-cracking. Old-style circus given a very contemporary twist, and all presented as a cautionary tale of how testing your hoped-for ‘elixir of life’ concoctions may have dramatic consequences.

So it’s likely to have sold out already. In which case, here’s an idea of what you have missed.  

 
Pictured: Thomas Gorham ‘head first’ balancing on Cal Harris. Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Thomas Gorham ‘head first’ balancing on Cal Harris. Picture credit: Creative Futures Photography.

 

Melbourne-based Head First Acrobats have a winning formula—combining the talents of Cal Harris, Thomas Gorham, and Rowan Thomas to produce a number of internationally-successful shows. Elixir presents the tale of three scientists who are now engaged in clinical trials of what they hope will be an elixir of life. The disembodied voice of ‘control’ at the ‘research facility’ warns the audience that those using flash photography ‘may die’; or those not turning their phone to silent ‘may die’; and that those testing the ‘drug’ may suffer the consequences. I didn’t hear any phones ring, but the ‘scientists’ do go ahead with their tests.

Each variant of the ‘drug’ has differing results, giving Harris, Gorman and Thomas to showcase their individual and collective talents. And they are certainly multi-talented.

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Harris demonstrated some amazing & often quite spectacular ladder, incredible balance, and fantastic strength work. Gorman’s breakdance was superb, as were his acrobatics and highly-memorable trapeze work (that headstand… on a trapeze…). Thomas relished the comedic role, and I’ve never seen the cyr wheel worked with quite such style before—just… wonderful.

The circus skills are definitely the reason to go. But Elixir is more than ‘just’ circus. The dance moves were entertaining (look out for the Thriller piece), the story held the show together, and with some old-fashioned slapstick, audience-interaction, and ‘Australian humour’ this is a show that has something for almost everyone. Oh, and did I mention that shirts are removed?

The Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre is a flexible space, and it was interesting to see it set up in a slightly different way, giving the performers a three-sided stage to work within (all set against the backdrop of the Powerhouse brick). A perfect choice and space for this production. But if you can’t get tickets for the Wonderland Festival show, then Elixir is worth travelling to see.

Verdict: Love circus? Go. Looking for a good night out? Go. Not quite sure if this is for you? Go.

Audience tip: 60 minutes, Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre. There are only three performances of Elixir in the 2018 Wonderland Festival program (9:30pm, 29 November until 1st December 2018). Tickets may still be available: $45 ($39 concession, and pp for a group of 6+) plus $5.95 transaction fee. Why not keep an eye on the website, and see what else might tempt you at the 2018 Wonderland Festival.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Thursday 29th November 2018 performance (9:30pm).

Pictures Credit: Creative Futures Photography.

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Review: Anywhere Festival 2018, 'Four' Me

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Review: Anywhere Festival 2018, 'Four' Me

And… suddenly… May is over. Hopefully, like me, you have spent the last few weeks immersed in theatre, dance, circus, and music—and have chuckled, cried and pondered your way through many of the works that have been available as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival 2018.

Reflecting on the last few weeks, my fourth Anywhere Festival experience can be summarised in just four words: immersive, involvement, improv, issues.

Pictured:    Dinopocalypse .  Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured:  DinopocalypsePictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Immersive has certainly been a bit of a buzz-word this, although the experience has not always been quite as immersive as it could have been. Sometimes audiences need a little more encouragement—or direction—as to just how involved they can be. For example, Here Comes the Bride!  was an entertaining show where the audience might have been more fully immersed with tables set around the venue. However, sometimes audiences can become so engrossed that directors do have to step in. At the other end of the immersive scale Dinopocalypse ended the opening night with some of the audience a little too immersed and having to be directed off the stage for the safety of the artists.

Pictured :  Dale Pengelly in   The Lounge Suite .   Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Dale Pengelly in The Lounge Suite Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Clearly immersive theatre does rely on audience participation, but many of the events created great opportunities for enthusiastic audience involvement Perhaps unsurprisingly two of these were shows with a musical flavour: The Lounge Suite and To Sergio With Love. Dale Pengelly’s Lounge Suite had most of the audience on stage for two numbers during the show, where patrons clearly loved the chance to be in on the act.  And Chris Osborne and Susan Bennett always make their guests feel that they’ve attended the best party in town at events held at their Carina home (this year hosting The View From Madeleine’s Couch). The third show with some really enjoyable audience interaction was the kid-friendly Super Circus Squad—an action-packed, physical theatre show, combining displays of trapeze, acrobatics, balance and ‘strength.’ Only one audience member got to be a superhero on the day, but the show provided everyone with feisty, feel-good fun.

Pictured : Super Circus Squad at the Queensland Maritime Musuem. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Super Circus Squad at the Queensland Maritime Musuem. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Done well, improv can also make for a really entertaining evening. I understand that A Midsummer Night’s Whatever hit the spot, particularly on the evening photographer—and reviewer for the night—Creative Futures Photography’s Geoff Lawrence attended “The Merchant of Bunnings: As You Like Charcoal.” And I chose equally well in seeing the improvised Kiss of the Vampire Squid. A fun evening with a chance to really experience Anywhere Theatre Festival at its finest, and the Maritime Museum was a great venue choice for a suitably tall (and funny) seafaring tale.

Pictured: Kiss of the Vampire Squid. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured: Kiss of the Vampire Squid. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Of course, entertainment is not only judged based on the chuckle quotient. Many of the shows I saw this year provoked discussions about very serious issues. Anywhere Festival 2018 included many circus or physical theatre performances which told stories and opened up debate about serious issues. In Invisible Things, Alex Mizzen shared some of the rage and frustration associated with finding her own creative voice, which was inspired by facing up to the possibility of not being able to continue with her chosen career. Kelsey Laura’s Proximity explored issues of consent. And The Box was an inspiring and insightful piece encouraging audiences to reconsider “what stigma is (especially in relation to the actors’ experiences as people living with a disability),” and to respond to the challenge of “why did you assume?”

Pictured (L to R): Joe Surawski, Niala Lewis, and Alex Procopis in  The Box  at the UQ Pergola. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence,  Creative Futures Photography .

Pictured (L to R): Joe Surawski, Niala Lewis, and Alex Procopis in The Box at the UQ Pergola. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

I have tried to summarise my experience in four words and failed (I’m already at over 550…). But when I think back over the last few weeks the most memorable events are not just those which combined improv, issues, and immersion. It is also those productions which had the “right” venue. In 2018, my top four venues were Queensland Maritime Museum, UQ Great Court, UQ Pergola, and Brisbane Modern. Brisbane Modern is always an Anywhere Festival highlight, and inevitably shows there will be near the top of my list.

Pictured: Gretel. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Pictured: Gretel. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Inevitably, I have found it difficult to identify my top picks… but the four really memorable shows of my fourth season are also those which took place at some of those top venues: Gretel, Super Circus Squad, The Box and Kiss of the Vampire Squid. Gretel was a great piece of new writing, beautifully directed in a compelling UQ Great Court production. The Box was a cast-devised piece of physical theatre and spoken word in an equally well-chosen UQ site. And the Queensland Maritime Museum was a marvellous venue for a number of festival shows: a great space for Super Circus Squad, and a perfect choice for Kiss of the Vampire Squid. Let’s hope all of these venues are part of Anywhere Festival 2019—and that we get to see much more of these talented performers and creatives. Only 11 months to wait for the next Anywhere Festival…

Catherine Lawrence

Pictured: Alex Mizzen in Invisible Things. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Alex Mizzen in Invisible Things. Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

All Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

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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: Invisible Things

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Review: Invisible Things

The Powerhouse Stores Studio is a wonderful, pared-back, high-ceilinged space—perfect for a show that places the creator/performer (Alex Mizzen) in the centre of a 3m x 3m smoke-filled cube. On 13th May, the audience filtered into the dimly-lit room, drawn toward and walking round the cube, peering in at the artist, anticipating what they might experience. Over the next 40 minutes, we watched Alex as she peeled back the layers (literally and metaphorically), allowing us to share some of the rage and frustration associated with finding her own creative voice. As the journey unfolded, so the artist demonstrated her skills in gymnastics, circus, and dance—with some impressive en pointe skipping, handstand cane balancing, and aerial. 

Picture : Alex Mizzen in the 3m x 3m cube, watched by members of the 132th May 2018 audience ( Invisible Things ). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Picture: Alex Mizzen in the 3m x 3m cube, watched by members of the 132th May 2018 audience (Invisible Things). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

As an artist working in the very physical arena of gymnastics, circus, aerial, dance, and balance, any serious injury must be a time for reflection, and concern. Invisible Things draws on the dialogue between the performer and her journals—described as “an unedited exposé of my internal world”—which led to a “realisation of a collection of patterns or mindsets […] noticings.” As the show unfolds, we see some of the writings on the walls, but find it difficult to read their meanings. The artist speaks through her body and movements, but without using her voice. At the end we feel we have learned more from the compelling interaction  between the performer and soundtrack, and from her destruction or ultimate breaking free from the box.

Alex has brought together a great team together for this production (Anna Whitaker [soundtrack], Michael Maggs, [Collaborating Artist], Helen Clifford [Rigging], and Kristian Santic [Dramaturg]). Unfair perhaps to select out one element of this but, for me, the soundtrack was absolutely perfect. I felt that the sound artist and performer created a compelling dialogue, perfectly anticipating each other’s mood and moves. A production that would work well in a modern art gallery, as well as in contemporary circus. If you are looking for a show that draws your full attention, then why not visit the Powerhouse Stores Studio while you can.

Picture : Alex Mizzen ( Invisible Things ). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Picture: Alex Mizzen (Invisible Things). Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography

Verdict: Prepare to be challenged. Performance art/contemporary dance meets modern angst—with some excellent balance and aerial work and a fantastic soundtrack.

Audience tip: Seating is available, but you may prefer to walk around the outside of the cube during the performance. 15+ (some nudity). 40 minutes.

Catherine Lawrence

The reviewer attended the Sunday 13th May performance. Only four more performances (19th, 20th, 26th & 27th May). Tickets are available at the Anywhere Festival website. $25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: Hiraeth

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Review: Hiraeth

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.  

Pictured (L to R): Nadia Jade (kneeling), Kelsey Adams, Ty Fitzsimons, and Phoebe Manning. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured (L to R): Nadia Jade (kneeling), Kelsey Adams, Ty Fitzsimons, and Phoebe Manning. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

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.

Pictured: Ty Fitzsimons. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Ty Fitzsimons. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

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.   

Pictured: Nadia Jade. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

Pictured: Nadia Jade. Picture credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.

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.  

Catherine Lawrence

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).

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