Left – Jillibalu Riley and Selene Messinis. Cover – Tara Silcock. Photos – Mark Turner
As climate change awareness reaches an all-time fever pitch, with the likes of Greta Thunberg calling on humanity to save the planet, while business booms for the Australian coal mining industry, Circus Oz’s Aurora could not be more perfectly timed.
Named for the Polar lights, Aurora is a comment on the climate change crisis and as with many of Circus Oz’s productions, a highly political and opinionated piece of performance art. In the past the political ethos of the productions has taken away from the performances, as one-sided content is forced upon audiences. Aurora is slightly different, it has a much more hopeful and “fun” theme running through it, Tara Silcock as the cabaret-esque Polar Bear, serves as the through line of the production and is glorious as narrator, mime, and acrobat.
Geared to appeal to both adults and children, there are incredible feats of physical prowess, Adam Malone performing death defying headstands on a Washington trapeze contrasted with a basic table slide routine. Malone’s later hoop routine is the highlight of the performance, his sass and showmanship an absolute delight.
Backed by musicians Jeremy Hopkins and Selene Messinis, the pair are the backbone of the Circus Oz ideology. Energy flows from the two and the introduction of a tap number is a glorious addition.
After taking over the artistic director role from Rob Tannion, Kate Fryer has worked some magic back into the circus. The political mentality of Circus Oz remains cemented in the company but in a gentler format that throws back to fun-filled family entertainment. Aurora is a show you can happily take the kids to, where you can enjoy the outstanding abilities of the performers and maybe learn a little something about environmental change, if only because you find the penguins really funny.
Circus Oz presents
Director Kate Fryer
Venue: The Big Top | Southern Cross Lawn, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 18 September – 6 October 2019
Tickets: from $35