News & Reviews
Melbourne, Australia - The AU Review; Theatre Review: Circus Oz presents "But Wait... There's More"
22nd June 2015
Hoards of patrons both young and old scrambled along Birrarung Marr on their way to the Circus Oz Big Top for its grand opening night! The foyer of the tent was packed to the brim as we weaved our way past the various indoor stalls. The smell of popcorn and hot jam donuts sailed through the air, as sequins adorned performers enthusiastically pranced around greeting guests.
We found our seats and were pleased to see that we had a perfect view of the stage. After a welcome message and a round of applause for the original owners of the land, the show began. The performers all emerged in spectacular fashion from a small hot air balloon style basket placed on the stage, creating a Mary Poppins bag style illusion. We were introduced to our ring mistress for the evening Candy Bowers, who rapped, sung, and danced her way through the evening. Lilikoi Kaos remained on stage to begin her act, and with a name like that, you know it’s going to be good. She began with two hula hoops spinning them at first around her waist and then around her arms, neck, legs and ankles. By the end of the routine other performers were literally throwing multiple hoops onto her so that she was spinning round and round in circles like a giant slinky.
An Adagio act with a difference was next. Kyle riding his unicycle carried April on his shoulders, lifting her and balancing her in a great feat of skill. It was nice to see a unicycle in a routine as it brought back an old school circus vibe. The show continued, and we were introduced to the rest of the cast. Their various talents often meant that they were in multiple roles, playing instruments one second and performing their skills the next.
One of my favourite acts was the flying trapeze. Performers climbed up a ladder to a platform before flying through the air, either to be caught by another perfumer, or drop down to the mats. As the show progressed it became clear that there was an underlying social message that tied everything together. In one skit, Matt Wilson and Olivia Porter are together on stage, and Wilson starts talking about ‘stuff’. In fact, he gets so overexcited about all the stuff that we need to buy that we don’t need, that he robotically overheats and goes mute. The theme of consumerism and materialistic values prevails refreshingly. We are reminded of our waste as a society and are shown a comical view of our embedded human nature.
Candy Bowers multiple character act is also an interesting play on various political and social topics, and shows her versatility as both a performer and character actor. Dale Woodbridge Brown is our MC for the night, appearing and disappearing at intervals. His personality really shines in this role, and you can tell that he would be just as entertaining off stage as he is on. The show concluded to great applause, and we were introduced to the team behind the scenes. Artistic Director Mike Finch made an impassioned speech about the arts industry that really solidified his love of circus. It showed the great passion that he had put into creating a show, that from the raucous applause, seemed to be enjoyed by all.
The AU Review
Photographer: Rob Blackburn