Thursday, April 21, 2022



Suitcase Circus. 

Presented by Red Canvas Productions. May Wirth Big Top Canberra Circus Festival. Artistic Director  Tom Davis. Lyons Youth Haven. Kambah Pool Road. Kambah. April 19-23 2022. Bookings:

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

Caz Walsh - Balancing Act

Come on down Canberra. The circus has come to town. Artistic director of Warehouse Circus Tom Davis has taken on a bold and imaginary initiative and created Canberra’s first Circus Festival with a week of thrills and excitement to please every circus lover, young and old alike. Like the very best circus act, it’s a risky venture but it has got off to a terrific start with the youthful, exuberant and very talented Suitcase Circus. In the grounds of the Lyons Youth Haven off the Kambah Pool Road, Davis has erected a bright circus tent for the several companies that are taking part.

As the chill of the night takes hold inside the action inside the brightly coloured circus tent hots up in preparation for a night at the circus that doesn’t disappoint. The crowd flock in, stopping to buy hot chips, drinks and popcorn. This is the blast from the circuses past. And that is what is so refreshing about Suitcase Circus. It may lack the sophistication of the mainstage spectacle, but it possesses  a natural charm, brimming over with appeal. There are no dazzling lights, no special effects but there is an energy and a sense of fun that is contagious stirred up by master of ceremonies Geronimo (Mason West), Suitcase Circus’s happy hearted clown. The upbeat soundtracks lift the spirits and keep the hype at top gear.

Reece Cooper on the Airborne Cyr

Suitcase Circus surprises with the familiar and the unexpected. There are the acrobats , agile and athletic, defying gravity and parading a  bold bravura as they tumble and roll, cartwheel and create their human towers on each other’s shoulders.. There is the elegant grace and litheness of the aerialist Maddy Burleigh on the trapeze heart or plunging down the silks, or being flung across the stage to the waiting arms of partner and strongman Liam DeJong as the audience gasps. These are standard circus routines, but the thrill is in the danger of the act. There is no net, and the only protection is the company’s complete and confident trust in each other. This is nail-biting circus, where one slip can mean serious injury.

Hazel Bock Foot Juggler

Don’t be fooled by the refreshing lack of pretension of the young company. They are consummate artists, stylish in their presentation and magical in their artistry. I sit in admiration of their athleticism, their talent and their artistry. I am amazed by Caz Walsh’s balancing prowess on a three tiered Rola Bola and the incredible skill on the balancing board resting on three layers of martini glasses. I am almost dizzy at Reece Cooper’s whirling circle on the Roue Cyr. A young volunteer watches alertly as Hazel Bock lends comedy and expert timing to the spinning plates on spindly sticks. And finally, I am astounded by Bock’s foot juggling. One ball slips through the legs but Bock doesn’t miss a beat and finishes her leg  twisting and twirling routine with foot-juggling suitcases. This is circus at its best, breathtaking, heart thumping and mesmerising in its suspenseful routines.and musical backings.

Suitcase Circus packs in a lot of good fun and enthralling acts in its all too brief hour of wholesome family entertainment. Just remember if you go at night to keep your eye out on your right for the entrance. If you get to the Mount Vernon Road roundabout you’ve gone a hundred yards too far. And if you missed  the show last night, be sure to catch it on Saturday. It’s a hit!