Saturday 22 June 2019

Dispersion review

You don't have to look too hard to notice that Melbourne has people from diverse cultures and communities living in it. We each have a story to tell and when you think about it, those stories are not that different from one another. Dispersion is a new circus show presented by the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) that gives an opportunity to its second year cohort to showcase their skills while exploring the idea of belonging and togetherness through some highly entertaining acts.

There is an intelligent and reflective narrative in Dispersion that emphasises identity and acceptance. Directed by Zebastian Hunter and Meredith Kitchem, all the acts are seamlessly integrated into the story resulting in a gripping emotional response from the audience. One of the highlights of this is how the opening and closing acts complement and contrast with each other and provide a satisfying and earned conclusion.

There is no distinction of characters between the performers as they take on various roles and character traits with every act. They might be aggressors for one and vulnerable people arriving in a new land in another. This constant change blurs the notion of an "other" and you begin to see them as a growing and ever-changing "we". 

The cast of Dispersion display considerable flair in 60 minutes of physically and mentally demanding acts. From a swinging Russian bar to tightwire and a group rope performance, they remain incredibly focused and in moments where our attention is directed towards one or two specific people, much like Dispersion's overarching theme, the group spirit and community between them is clearly evident.

Adding to the thrill of the evening is a live band consisting of drummer Chris Lewis, guitarist Kathleen Halloran and Jenny Game-Lopata on saxophone. The world influences of its music are instantly recognisable and further add to the intention of the show that this is not a singular story or experience. Due to the improvisation of the music, there are times when it doesn't quite match the choreography of the acts so some of the show's impact is lessened.

It is always great to see emerging artists building on their abilities and expertise in their craft. What is significantly notable about Dispersion is that unless you are aware these are second year NICA performers, you would never be able to tell. The professionalism, stagecraft and most importantly, talent that these 15 circus artists possess is something very unique and can see them all having prolific careers in circus in the years to come. 

Show Information

Venue: NICA National Circus Centre, 39-59 Green Street, Prahran.
Season: Until 22 June| Sat 7:30pm
Tickets: $30 Full | $23 Conc
Bookings: NICA

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