Her Majesty’s Theatre, Wed Oct 1
Her Majesty’s Theatre is a beautiful venue for so many styles of performances, and for tonight’s opening show for Circa – the Brisbane based contemporary circus company – the intimate setting was perfect.
Wunderkammer is the latest show touring under the umbrella of ‘Circa’, and the company have performed 30 countries since 2006, with many different performances to date. Wunderkammer, however is one of the most intriguing circus acts I have seen to date, starkly beautiful, raw and provocative.
The seven-person troupe display a stunning skill set of not only their individual trained skills, such as trapeze, acrobatics, and hand-balancing, but beautiful and carefully choreographed theatre and dramatics on stage.
Deliberately simple, so as to not distract from the actual performances, their set is without the frills, costumes and other distractions that can on occasion overwhelm the audience. One is forced to examine in closer detail every facial expression, every movement and every seamless interaction between the group. Their very sensual and erotic discarding of their basic garments leaves them mostly in their very basic of clothing; again to demonstrate the rawness of their actions. Their interactions and choreography are a combination of gymnastics, dance and burlesque, and their artistic director, the renowned Yaron Lifschitz (Guest director at NIDA, CEO of Circa and the founding director of the Australian Museum’s Theatre Unit) has clearly spent hundreds of hours with the young ensemble perfecting every intricate scene.
For me, the music was one of the most powerful statements of the show. Showcasing everything from Daniel Hope’s melancholy violin to Peter Gabriel and even a beautiful and humorous version of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, the volume and clarity of the carefully selected songs were an absolute credit to the director. All of the music was powerful, evocative and dramatic, and fitted the scenes impeccably.
Highlights were the frightening use of balloons and nostrils, the serenity of Brittannie Portelli on her trapeze, and the unbelievable strength of all seven performers as they fluidly stretched and balanced their way to the end of the 85-minute show. It is captivating to watch the precision with which they work with one another and the dramatics of the show, and the black attire and basic lighting added to the ethereal feel of the evening. I felt as though I was on another planet watching a strange tribe languidly expressing their thoughts and emotions to one another through use of their bodies.
The show was a perfect length and the brief interludes of subtle humour were enough to lighten the mood in a classy yet slightly shocking manner.
Treat yourself and follow this show as they are absolutely worth a night out.
by Siân Williams
Circa performs Wunderkammer at Her Majesty’s Theatre until Sat Oct 4.
Book at Bass on 131 241 or bass.net.au.
Brittannie Portelli image courtesy of Emma McGovern