Acrobatics is thrilling to watch and the young performers of Brisbane's CIRCA didn't disappoint. Just back from New York after touring, the troupe took to the (rather small) stage of the Festival Hub to perform Wunderacts, their new show. The space didn't allow for a wide range of tumbling or any aerial work; this show was confined to balancing and hoop work, along with some welcome comic turns with tutus and balloons.
The strength the performers have developed is impressive - it is a treat to see routines where the girls get to show their strength; one example in a later routine had a girl holding a boy aloft on her hands. You could see the effort involved which made you marvel at her prowess.
A contortionist squeezed through a small hoop, a contortion trick she performed while balancing on a wide plank held up by the rest of the troupe. They are daredevils - some of the balancing is heart-stopping for the audience. Hoop routines for example, while on someone's shoulders and balancing blindfolded on two poles - all these look risky and give you plenty of thrills, while becoming anxious about spills. This was especially true for last Friday's show - the girls weren't having their best night, with early near misses denting their confidence. A slip in timing where one performer was placed on the shoulders of another before she was ready caused a few wobbles and, sadly, a couple of the girls never quite recovered their aplomb. Being conscious of the risks of performing on such a small stage wouldn't have helped. Another thing was that water was leaking from the ceiling of the Hub - not helpful when complete sure-footedness is required.
The scary balancing acts were interspersed with some lighter moments and you did need them on this night, especially. A cute act involving soft toys being hurled at the audience was fun and the guy in the tutu doing a turn to Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights was truly funny. A two man duet to Falling in Love Again turned into a triple perfomer reverse sort of strip tease where a girl joined them and managed to haul on a t-shirt despite standing on the shoulders of a man balanced on another man. One of the show's highlights.
CIRCA perform some terrific feats of strength and balance, along with the silly-bugger stuff. They enjoy their engagement with the audience and there are a couple of real charmers in the troupe. Theirs is a show worth going out of your way to see.
Melbourne Festival 2012
Venue: Foxtel Festival Hub | Under Princes Bridge, on the banks of the Yarra
Dates: 19 - 22 Oct, 2012
Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100