Circus Oz returns with a new show of "impossibly intricate foot-juggling to hair-raising balances, breathtaking hula hooping to physical comedy that will leave you speechless". Unfortunately while there are elements in Aurora that are well conceived, their exploration of the ice lands of our world and the ensuing acts don't live up to these grand statements resulting in a very average experience.
set design is quite impressive with its representation of this frozen
land and the lighting design by Jennifer Hector superbly captures the
atmosphere of this vast body of ice throughout the show, best shown in
Shani Stephen's hand balancing act, where along with a smoke machine,
creates some stunning moments. Rhian Hinkley's visual projections on the
floor of the stage are fun and imaginative and they are incorporated
into the routines without ever feeling like it's a gimmick.
cannot dispute the ensemble's talent and the high level visual and aural
aspects of the show, with music performed by the brilliant Jeremy
Hopkins and Selene Messinis, so it's disappointing that there is a lack
of excitement and originality within the acts themselves. None of them
seem to have a "wow" factor and it is all a little too safe for what
we've come to expect from Circus Oz. The rope act by Sam Aldham is
run-of-the-mill and despite being visually engaging with the costuming
and lighting, Adam Malone's routine on the Washington trapeze feels astonishingly pedestrian.
The company has attempted to bring comedy to the forefront of Aurora,
more so than other Circus Oz shows, which is perfectly fine but the
humour is squarely aimed at children and doesn't have any of that
second-level cheeky jokes that only adults would get. At one point we
watch a polar bear projectile vomiting and another scene resembles a
pantomime send-up with silly humans first chasing, then running away
from the bear. The penguin ensemble and the table sliding is a similar
act that doesn't hit the mark as you wonder why Malone has been dressed
with extra padding to portray the "fat penguin" and subsequently ends up
as the clumsiest and most accident prone of the waddle.
previous productions, Circus Oz has excelled in drawing us into the
world of circus with amazing concepts and feats on display. With Aurora,
it is unable to replicate this thrill and it results in a mediocre
performance that will hopefully melt away from our memories in time for
the next production.
Venue: Big Top at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens.
Season: Until 6 October | Wed- Sat 7:30pm, Sat 1.30pm, Sun 3pm
Tickets: $25 - $60 (plus booking fees)
Bookings: Circus Oz
Image Credit: Mark Turner