Sunday 19 May 2024

360 ALLSTARS review

360 ALLSTARS is a circus show that brings the urban streets into the theatre. With acclaimed international performers, a thumping live soundtrack, and animated projections and lighting, it promises to be a phenomenal evening of groundbreaking circus. Sadly, this show may have to rethink its title as while the artists are talented, this spectacle offers nothing exciting or unique to make it stand out among the rest.

There is a lot of filler in this production with individuals introduced and re-introduced a number of times and having the audience cheer - or scream - them on. The acrobatics are impressive and clearly require a high level of skill and strength, but they are tediously one-note where it seems like they have just one trick up their sleeve that is repeated. Yes, this might be aimed at children and families, but it doesn't mean that the same level of craft in adult circus should not be applied here, particularly as there are many Australian independent circus troupes doing this incredibly well.

It's disappointing that there is not a single female in this ensemble, especially being a children's show. If these performers are to bring joy and inspire younger audiences through what the human body can achieve, it would be wonderful if they included a female in its cast. There's also a slightly questionable instance when one Bboy gives a dance to the mums in audience with almost taking off his t-shirt and flashing his body. It's done in a "cheeky humour" approach but it feels inappropriate given the target audience.

There are flashes of captivating creativity however, the highlight being an act where a light is beamed down onto the darkened stage, forming an illumination around the circumference of a flat cyr wheel. The troupe then take turns interacting and engaging with the space, resulting in something that is distinctive and intriguing as we see what they can do within the confines of this small circular area.

From the cheers and claps in the audience, 360 ALLSTARS was popular with children and families. But is that enough for a production to be considered great, or even good? These performers are outstanding in what they do, but this show needs far more substance and less style for it to genuinely earn its title.

was performed at Arts Centre Melbourne between 17 - 19 May.

Image credit: Matt Loncar

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