Saturday, August 18, 2018


Circus Oz
Concept and Artistic Direction: Rob Tannion
Canberra Theatre to 18 August

Reviewed by Len Power 17 August 2018

Circus Oz was founded in 1978 and has since performed in 27 different countries, across five continents.  Their shows have been described as ‘an intimate spectacle of unrelenting energy, humour, multi-skill playing, surreal imagery, grace and strength, fully integrated with a live and original musical score’.

In this production, entitled ‘Model Citizens’, the cast of 10, including two musicians, performed a breath-taking series of acrobatic routines employing every-day objects from modern life such as safety pins, irons, knives, fire, clothes pegs, credit cards and even laundry hanging on a line.  What they did with them was anything but ordinary.  Seeing normal sized people interacting with these giant-sized objects created an almost surreal, dream-like experience.

The production design by Michael Baxter is an attractive realization of Rob Tannion’s concept for the show.  The complex lighting design by Maddy Seach is colourful and complements the production design very well.  The costumes by Laurel Frank are imaginative and with humorous touches that work nicely.

The performers displayed extraordinary athletic and performance skills.  There were enjoyable flashes of irreverent humour throughout the show, especially one cheeky routine involving underwear and another of dizzy sheep being chased around the theatre by a ferocious sheep dog.  The enormous credit cards stacked to a dizzying height with a performer balancing on top was deliciously scary and the routine performed by the girl in the cocktail glass balancing and rolling umbrellas with her feet was skilful and elegant.  There were aerial ballet routines of great beauty, terrific acts involving hoops and juggling and a grand finale involving breath-taking stunts on a high rope ladder strung across and above the stage.

All of the performers displayed winning personalities as well as good comic timing.  The original music score suited the tone of the show and there were a couple of good songs as well, one with clever lyrics about ‘Diversity’.  It’s difficult to credit individual performers as there was no program for the show.

This was a hugely enjoyable production that delighted the large audience of adults and children.

Photos by Rob Blackburn

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.