Review: Circus Oz delight audiences with ‘Precarious’

Circus Oz ‘Precarious’ | His Majesty’s Theatre | Until 27th July | ★ ★ ★  

Performers dressed as polar bears frolic through the audience as the crowds enter the luxurious surroundings of His Majesty’s Theatre, immediately bringing fun and frivolity to the anticipation of the latest show from Australia’s leading circus troupe.

As the curtain rises the polar bears lounge beneath a giant dome swathed in the colours of the Aurora Australis, soon  there are new arrivals in their world, people descend into their caves and tackle the challenging terrain and climate.

The Antarctic setting provides a backdrop for a show that allows the skilled performers to show off their abilities in juggling, hula hoops, trapeze, balancing and backflipping. There’s no doubt that this cast of nimble performers have developed their skills after hundreds of hours of work, and they effortlessly roll, tumble and topple across the stage.

It’s a family friendly show, and there is heaps of comedy among the death defying stunts that are worked into the loose narrative. The performance however felt somewhat disconnected from the audience.

Maybe it’s because we’ve become accustomed to seeing this type of skill deployed in Fringe World Speigeltents with heaps more ego and bravado, rather than the sinisterly formal surroundings of His Majesty’s Theatre. The proscenium arch stage created a barrier that distanced the audience and the performers.

While the cast connected with the audience through a few comedic moments I was never sure if we were ever really breaking the fourth wall, and audience interaction seemed half hearted – on both sides of the equation.

The work was anchored in an impressive musical soundscape created live on stage by two talented musicians who rolled out a series of 70’s inspired synth sounds.

This a fun show that is family friendly, full of skilled work and moments of comedy.

Circus Oz Precarious is at His Majesty’s Theatre until 28th July. 

Graeme Watson, Image: Rob Blackburn 

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