madetofit300Described back in 2008 as 'the future of circus',  NICA’s exceptional second year talent prove why they’re worthy of that accolade. The concept behind the night’s performance, Made to Fit, is as sophisticated as could be expected of NICA’s previous innovation.

Focused on the contemporary idea of wanting to fit in as society dictates to us regardless of the stereotypes we find ourselves a part of, and both how shallow and manipulable we can be, the set echoes the concept of ‘holding a mirror to ourselves’ effortlessly. Comprised of a minimalistic, modern big top setting, a trampoline second level with further levels comprised of a mirrored section and a higher balcony reachable via ladder. At times these separate levels are populated by the performers, acting as a silent, observing chorus who maintain peak physicality as a support to the more focal, intimate acts. However distance from the audience, the additional performers with their own specific skillsets are somewhat distracting. This not a prevalent issue: for the better part, the 27-strong ensemble work in eerie harmony with one another. Slipping on stage in their grey onesies and suits, the students move sinuously, forming collective piles of rejects that are folded into marked wheelie bins with effortless dexterity. They demonstrate display clear finesse, although the occasional slip is to be expected and pardoned for their age. In particular, tissu performers Alyssa Moore and Hannah Trott hold the audience in thrall over the elegance of their climb and graceful figures, the simple beauty cleverly undone in a symbolic move of purity versus manipulation in their dominant handlers who remain behind frames, waiting.
 
Co-directors Megan Jones and Meredith Kitchen hold a careful balance behind the playful and curious, the poignant and raw. Acts hold a double edge: one girl’s playful shedding of clothes leads to endless repetition by a whole frenzy. A cute vignette of a date based around a girl's (Emma Kervin) want for a book and her eventual acceptance of boy (Tim Rutty) manipulating book draws darker parallels to another performer having followed and copied the actions of his desired object, a ball, in turns and twists and motion. Brief scenes featuring two carefully dressed ‘Barbie’ girls sour with the appearance of a follower (Alyssa Moore) attempting to mimic their stereotypically blonde appearance. Others are made simply absurd, a realisation of the commodity of identity and it’s subsequent manipulation. While clowns are often taken as the light-hearted relief in circus, a humorous scene holds a subtle reminder of our lack of control over forces beyond our own.
 
Amongst the performers, Danny Golding should be noted a name to watch in the future of circus. Dazzling in an array of roles, from disengaged man in a world of hormones and sexuality to overtly camp mannequin manipulator and sassy friend advisor, to playboy-on-a-chain, his precise acrobatics are certainly feats children will remember. While notable, he does by no means overshadow his peers, each of whom have their own time in the limelight. The impossible is made probable, be it in adagio, sky-high swings or the staggering, climactic finale filled with effortless lifts, leaps and tumbles.
 
With ten years of experience, wisdom and dedicated performers behind them, NICA has grown - and will certainly continue to grow in reputation and in interest alike. As for the second years, this talented lot is slated for great things.


National Institute of Circus Arts presents
Made to Fit


VenueNICA National Circus Centre, Green Street, Prahran
Dates:12 - 22 September 2012
Bookingswww.nica.com.au

More reviews by Vivienne Mah