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Circus Review by Melynda von Wayward
What: Circus Oz – But Wait…There’s More
When: 18 June- 13 July 2014
Where: Circus Oz Big Top – Birrarung Marr, Yarra River
Directed by Mike Finch
Performers: Olivia Porter, Kyle Raftery, Matt Wilson, April Dawson, Lilikoi Kaos, Nathan Kell, Spenser Inwood, Dale Woodbridge-Brown, Scott Hone
Band: Ben Hendry, Ania Reynolds, MC: Candy Bowers
Being welcomed by a cacophony of beautiful bells and Big Top charm was the gala show of But Wait…There’s More by legendary Circus company, Circus Oz.
Established over 35 years ago, and built on a legacy of generosity and diversity, Circus Oz is famous for delivering quality, animal-free Circus, complete with its own particular brand of Comedy and accompanying live band. While it is my personal view that Circus Oz has been at an artistic stalemate for a number of years in terms of the quality and content of their shows, But Wait…There’s More is a new, fresh and vibrant show, and Artistic Director Mike Finch must be congratulated on the latest injection of Circus Talent into the Circus Oz ranks– namely Lilikoi Kaos, April Dawson and Kyle Raftery.
Focusing on the theme of media and technology and its effects on society, Circus Oz offered up a wonderful display of Australia’s contemporary Circus talent, as well as bringing to our attention some of the important people who make up the infrastructure of this wondrous genre. With a moving Welcome to Country by the traditional custodians of the land, the show opened with a cheery round of applause from the throngs of adoring audience who were waiting for the excitement to begin… and begin it did.
Opening the show was the Princess of Australian Circus, Lilikoi Kaos, with her brilliant and sassy hula hoop routine. This routine deserves 5 stars alone, and Lilikoi’s masterful manipulation of not only one, but 50 or more hoops at once, was a beautiful sight to be seen. Her bright red hair and sexy bikini costume did not fail to impress, with her bikini and later ‘to kill for’ animal print jacket being created by stalwart Costume Designer Laurel Frank.
The next act, also worthy of 5 stars, was Kyle and April’s unicycle/adagio act. With absolute strength, grace and dexterity Raftery lifts Dawson into the air, all the while staying aloft his unicycle with perfect balance. This gorgeous duo is so in sync with each other’s movements, that even a 7ft unicycle couldn’t stop them from wowing the audience with daring feats of balance perfection – all the while Dawson radiating old school Circus beauty and elegance – as she aptly stands on Rafter’s capable shoulders.
Nathan Kell also gave us an impressive display of hoop, or rather ‘TV monitor’, diving, convincingly moving out of one reality into another, with help from the very talented Circus Oz band - made up of Ben Hendry and Ania Reynolds - with special appearances by the rest of the performers. This group of performers is very musically talented!
Another highlight of the show was the fun and exciting display of flying trapeze – this time with the Spenser Inwood as the star of the act with her strong catching abilities. Again Raftery and Dawson displayed their grace and agility as they swung through the air on a petit volant trapeze rig, all the while knowing they were safe in the hands of Inwood at the other end. But it wouldn’t be a Circus Oz show if it wasn’t infused with that special Circus Oz humour, and so of course the clowns had a great time swinging through the air as well.
And we cannot forget the Tyrant of the show, Matt Wilson. Acting as ‘Big Brother’ and the show judge all at once, Wilson had a great time sitting on his throne of chairs, buzzing all of the ‘contestants’ out of the show. But the audience didn’t really mind because we got a glimpse of all of the ‘other’ skills that these multi-talented performers had hidden under their belts – juggling, skipping, and some very hot BMX riding by Scott Hone. You’ve still ‘got it’ Scott!
Special Mention must also go to MC Candy Bowers and her beautiful assistant Dale Woodbridge-Brown. Mixing Indigenous sounds with MC beats, some sassy moves with a little bit of baton twirling, and some acrobatics with one damn fine wardrobe, these two hosts gave us a taste of modern multicultural medicine.
With a new home in Collingwood, it would seem that Circus Oz has a new lease on life in more ways than one. But Wait…There’s More is a great show that will no doubt successfully take the Company into the next leg of their exciting journey.
Go see it, you will love the Big Top experience and so will the kids.
5 Stars