Left – Matt Wilson (guitar) and Scott Hone. Cover – Candy Bowers (centre) with (l-r) Ben Hendry, April Dawson, Matt Wilson and Ania Reynolds. Photos – Rob Blackburn
Circus Oz is back in town with its latest show But Wait... There’s More, pitching its Big Top at Birrarung Marr until July 13, then continuing to tour regionally.
The little “circus that could,” now in its 36th year, Circus Oz is an action-packed, über talented troupe who wear a multitude of hats during their shows, from acrobats to musicians and backstage hands.
Emerging from a seemingly bottomless wicker trunk, the Circus Oz performers began the show by delivering a not so subtle message of mass consumerism, and the loss of control over the “commercialism virus” which so many are currently infected with across the globe. Hence the title of this year’s performance, But Wait... There’s More.
The concept behind But Wait... There’s More derived from the idea that there is a rising sea-level of data and ‘stuff,’ which humans are led to believe that they can’t live without, causing for new disorders to surface, ‘infobesity,’ the seemingly endless acceleration of data and information – and ‘consumanity,’ the excessive consumerism of humanity.
From an adults point of view, it is refreshing to witness a piece of work which explores a subject matter slightly left of centre and with social impact, but from a younger audiences’ perspective, the message is a bit vague. This made for a somewhat lukewarm reception of the first half of the show as the audience wrapped its head around what was being offered to them onstage, regardless of the talent on exhibit.
Eventually But Wait... There’s More found its balance between effervescent cheeky performance, and the incredible and awe inspiring circus technique for which they are renown.
Acts which captured the attention of young and old alike were many, but those which stand-out particularly would have to be the unicycle duet performed by April Dawson and Kyle Raftery; Nathan Kell’s unique take on the traditional diving through hoops routine, as he substituted the hoops for a plasma TV and stand; Lilikoi Kaos’ 101 hoop mania, and of course the side-by-side Chinese poles, featuring absolutely every member of the troupe, in a breathtaking contorted and balanced human puzzle display.
Although the fabulous comedian/cabaret artist Candy Bowers took the helm as the MC for the evening, with Dale Woodbridge-Brown as her sidekick, Circus Oz veteran, Matt Wilson, also played a big role in the show. After being absent from the scene for several years, Wilson, donning a barcode suit, was almost like an additional MC. He demonstrated great comedic timing, acrobatic strength and quirky delivery of jibber-jabber about accumulation of unnecessary stuff, materialism and our obsession with reality TV.
Overall Circus Oz is a fabulous potpourri of formidable talent, and in But Wait... There’s More we get to see some of its new family members and some returning ones, after a hiatus. Like in past productions, they display great energy which enchants audiences of all ages over and over again... even if their signature kangaroo act is missing this time around.
Circus Oz presents
But Wait…There’s More
Venue: Circus Oz Big Top | Birrarung Marr, Melbourne (between Federation Square and Batman Avenue)
Dates: 18 June – 13 July 2014
Tickets: $22 – $95
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100