Close to the Bone | Circus OzLeft – Lilikoi Kaos and Circus-Oz band. Cover – Spenser Inwood. Photos – Rob Blackburn

Locally grown and internationally recognised Circus Oz are not known for their intimate shows, but since the recent move into their new permanent home in Collingwood, they have pitched a gorgeous old Spiegeltent and launched their latest show, Close to the Bone.

With Close to the Bone, the Circus Oz crew have deconstructed their large-scale production, squeezed it into The Melba Spiegeltent and are now performing something which is very much ‘in-your-face’ both in space as well as in style. With performers leaping off the minute stage nearly into the laps of audience members, and occasionally flashing body parts which would normally be neatly tucked away, Close to the Bone is a joy to experience. It’s like a condensed and intensified Circus Oz in one neat little morsel-like serving.

Although the whole production was whipped up in just a few weeks, there was no sign of this in the performance. Directed by Debra Batton, Jo-Ann Lancaster and Simon Yates, Close to the Bone is well choreographed and runs seamlessly, but it also projects a dark and gritty cabaret-style feel – also a bit of a departure from their usual colourful family friendly acts.

Fast, skillful and tickling the funny bone, the cast members interacted with the audience on several occasions, reeling them into the performance – without dragging anyone onto the actual stage – making for an even more tactile experience for all involved.

On the night I attended, hearty belly laughs resonated throughout the Spiegeltent, gasps of wonder and admiration could also be heard, in response to some pretty breathtaking feats which the troupe performed within an arm’s reach of most in attendance.

If Circus Oz’s Close to the Bone is a sign of what’s to come in the new year, then fasten your belts and get ready for a fabulous ride.

Circus Oz presents
Close to the Bone

Venue: The Melba Spiegeltent | 35 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Dates: 11 – 21 December 2014
Tickets: $45 Adult / $40 Concession / $38 Groups 6+
Bookings: | 136 100

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