To try to encapsulate how incredibly moving Katie Noonan & Circa’s collaboration is as a live experience will be a challenge. When a work of this caliber is presented it feels that any superlative used to communicate my interpretation of the performance is less than adequate, but none-the-less I’ll try. Love-Song-Circus is the deeply touching, aurally and visually gorgeous sharing of some of the struggles endured by the first female convicts who were sent to Australia. Through Katie Noonan’s music and through co-directors of Circa, Yaron Lifschitzs and Ben Knapton’s, circus choreography, the tales of these women are brought to life via stunning and poignant aesthetics.
The music in Love-Song-Circus is a wonderful mix of ballad, folk and modern classical styles composed by Katie Noonan and an array of other musical collaborators. The music is performed by Noonan on vocals and piano and she is accompanied by Benjamin Hauptmann (Guitar, Mandolin & Banjo), Zoe Hauptmann (Double Bass) and the Gossamer String Quartet. The music and lyrics alone express and provide a sensitive and highly emotive vehicle for capturing and communicating the women’s stories. Noonan’s lyrical storytelling honestly and tenderly offers the breadth and width of imagining what some of the convict women’s tragic experiences may have been and she gives them a voice. Noonan’s gorgeous and crystalline vocals sing of their courage, their heartache, their strength, and their desires. If these musical elements aren’t enough to move you to a slight tear or induce goosebumps then the visually enthralling components that parallel the musical performance is bound to.
The circus choreography performed by a few of the spectacular women of Circa, Melissa Knowles, Kate Muntz and Jessica Ward elevates Love-Song-Circus to realms beyond the ordinary imagination. Knowles, Muntz and Ward portray the convict women through breathtaking acrobatic dance, balance and aerial work. The presence of the woman at the heart of Love-Song-Circus are personified in the ghost-like forms of the Circa ensemble who appear (even when they were standing on the stage) as though they are floating above the musicians. These spirits would softly fade in and out of focus, their pale and silent essences contorting delicately into an abstract images, sorrow, determination, love, and isolation personified in every movement.
Love-Song-Circus is a stirring and stunning collaboration of two of Brisbane’s most magnificent artistic talents. Katie Noonan and Circa’s performance inspired by the ‘fierce hearts’ of Australia’s female convicts is an experience you’re not likely to ever forget.
Kin Music presents
Katie Noonan and Circa
Directed by Yaron Lifschitz and Ben Knapton
Venue: The Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane
Dates: March 4 – 8, 2014