News & Reviews

Sydney, Australia - The Daily Telegraph; Wheel easy to show their true love

20th December 2015

There are all kinds of ways to express yourself. Engaged circus couple Kyle Raftery and April Dawson just happen to do it on a unicycle.

Their unicycle adagio, which has been described as "a tricky acro-balance love duet", is one of the standout acts in Circus Oz's current show.

But Wait... There's More, arrives in Sydney this month at the end of a two-year tour.

The act sees Raftery zipping around the circus ring on a unicycle while holding Dawson aloft in various beautiful but demanding balances.

"It is a lovely metaphor for what we are about in circus," says Raftery.

"It's our relationship and the trust we have in each other, and people seem to identify with that."

They met six years ago at the Western Australian Circus Festival run by Lunar Circus, where Dawson was a performer. Raftery, who trained at Melbourne's National Institute of Circus Arts, was there to teach flying trapeze and unicycle.

"I saw her across a paddock and I thought, 'I'm going to invite her to do some flying trapeze'," Raftery says.

They clicked right away, agreed to meet up again a few months later at a circus event in Adelaide and have been together ever since.

After doing some trapeze and ground acrobatics together, they started to develop a unicycle act after seeing a unicycle duo on YouTube. With nothing like it in Australia, Circus Oz snapped them up in 2014.

Their unicycle adagio combines acrobatic skill, strength and lyricism.

"Some people see figure skating in it, others see a ballet pas de deux and others see it like an equestrian circus act so it's a mix of all those things on one wheel," Dawson says.

But Wait... There's More has a lose theme: "We're looking at the saturation of consumerism and information, and the fast pace of our lives. The show gets faster and a bit more manic until it reaches a point where everything explodes and at the end we are just left with each other, just humans. And that's a lovely thing," Raftery says.

"It's exciting coming into Sydney because we've been working on the show for a long time and I feel it's the strongest it's ever been," adds Raftery.

"The season is in the Big Top. Often when we tour we perform in theatres but the Big Top adds a magical element."

The Daily Telegraph
Jo Litson