Circus, dance and theatre entwine in Driftwood

Melbourne based circus group Casus Circus has been touring the globe with their acclaimed show Driftwood and now it’s heading to Perth for Fringe World. Performer Jon Bonaventura chatted to us about their work.  

How would you describe your show Driftwood?

Driftwood is a show about humans coming together along the current of life and meeting, playing with and surprising each other in different ways. We sit in the intersection between circus, dance and theatre and strive to bring the audience along for a personal ride with us every time.

What makes your performance distinctly different from all the other circus based shows at Fringe World?

What makes Driftwood different from a lot of other shows at Fringe World is our throwback to some traditional circus disciplines. For example, myself and another acrobat, David, perform an act called ‘perch’ which basically is a metal pole that David balances on his head, with myself performing different tricks on top of the pole. It’s 20% scary and 80% the most fun I’ve ever had.

Besides that, Casus really push its artists to perform with honesty and joy, and not to perform a character but to be authentically ourselves on stage. I think that really shows to the audience and we get a chance to connect with new people every night.

Does it ever go wrong on stage?

Sometimes it does go wrong on stage, and to be honest, those are the moments where acrobats shine! We have had some of the best times on stage when mistakes are made, it’s a chance to improvise and have a laugh and to create something new that the audience will be lucky enough to witness. Yes, there is an inherent risk and danger in circus, but we manage the dangerous parts and always look after each other.

How do think up the different feats you pull during the show, where do the ideas come from?

A lot of the time new circus tricks come from a “this is probably a dumb idea but..” and then everyone else jumps on board and gives it a try. We spend often five, sometimes six, days a week training acrobatics and exploring what our bodies can do – so the tricks we put on stage are created through hours of research, trial and error and playtime. In Australian circus especially, we have a really strong sense of community and friendly competition, so a lot of the tricks that are performed come from hanging out with friends and seeing what they’re up to as well and then putting your own spin on it.

Some of the reviews from overseas praise the show for treating gender equally, showing women can be strong, and men can be feminine. Was this a conscious part of creating Driftwood?

For us, having roles in the show like a strong woman and a more delicate man, came naturally because of our bodies and sizes, not because we decided to make a very serious statement on gender.

For example, as a smaller guy, it just makes sense for me to be the one being lifted and climbing on top of the pyramid because I’m the smallest and I think that in a lot of Casus’ work, the roles are filled by whoever is the right person to do them, not the gender. But I do love that people seem to really identify with Sarah and I for being alternatives to a stereotype that they might have seen before in shows, it’s been commented on a lot, we have incredibly strong women in our company and we’re lucky for that.

Where has this show visited before its trip to Perth?

Before Perth Fringe World, Driftwood has toured international throughout Europe, the UK, the US and New Zealand, last year was incredibly busy and fulfilling for us, with 10 acrobats on the go! This is going to be the first time we’ve brought the show to Western Australia and we are super excited to be back on home turf for this tour.

Driftwood from Casus Circus is playing at Fringe World from 30th January – 11th February. For tickets and more info head to and check out our review of the show here.

Annique Cockerill

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