News & Reviews
Parramatta, Australia - Stage Whispers; But Wait...There's More
12th October 2015
Circus Oz has delighted and amazed audiences here and around the world for 37 years. This latest of their shows, But Wait …There’s More! continues to delight and amaze! Fast and thrilling, it is full of the high-flying spectacle and acrobatic fun that appeals across the generations.
The artists swing and ride, climb and tumble through a show that is as breathtaking as it is entertaining. This is showmanship at its fast-paced, highly trained collaborative best. The performers work as a tight, closely knit unit. Teamwork, timing and support are paramount in any circus work. They are especially essential in a program such as this that moves so quickly through so many intricately planned and precisely executed routines – and is funny as well.
Because humour abounds! Whether the artists are, literally, whipping up a storm, swinging from ropes suspended from high above the stage, flying from one trapeze swing to another, spinning on a unicycle, balancing on a unicyclist’s shoulders, alternating all sorts of tricks on a bicycle, tumbling through a complex, circuitous routine or doing all sorts of tricks with little white balls – there is humour. Wry facial expressions, narcissistic preening, carefully timed comedia del’arte style pratfalls are skilfully built into every routine. Thus the thrills and spills, gasps and guffaws expected of circus occur almost simultaneously.
It seems comedic timing is as important to these performers as their finely tuned bodies and carefully rehearsed skills. To most people circus means clowns – and every one of these performers is, at times, the consummate clown, even though Matt Wilson seems to excel as much as a clown as he does as an acrobatic artist. With 25 years experience he mixes both – and a funny commentary. Whether rolling into the audience, or swinging suspended from a wire (which is raised and lowered by another performer stepping up and down a high ladder) while trying to pick up some shorts, or scurrying across the stage inside a box, Wilson is a real all-rounder in circus skills.
Sharon Gruenert is equally an all round talent. She tumbles, swings, catches, climbs. Her timing is immaculate, her skill awe-inspiring. And that’s when she’s on the stage! In the audience, prior to the show, she back chats patrons as she crawls along the back of seats, climbs over rows and sits on unsuspecting knees! But then, all of the nine of the performers are just as cheeky as they prime the audience for the performance.
Pushing the pace are hip musicians Ben Hendry on drums, Ania Reynolds on keyboard – and the seemingly irrepressible Candy Bowers as colourful ringmaster – helped along by all of the artists who join in on various instruments if they aren’t actually part of a routine.
This is a carefully planned and tightly executed production performed by a versatile, talented, highly skilled, diverse group of dedicated performers who work as a cohesive, committed team both in their performances – and as teachers and mentors in the many programs they run for aspiring young artists, whether at their base in Melbourne or in collaboration with regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In every sense this is truly “Team Oz”.
Photographer: Rob Blackburn