Review | L.I.A.R. (Life Is A Rehearsal) tells a story of growing up

L.I.A.R (Life Is A Rehearsal) | Teatro | Until 10th Feb | ★ ★ ★ ★  ½ 

When you heard the word circus, it most often conjures images of frivolous fun. Whether it’s juggling clowns and high-flying acrobatics, or the glamour of Cirque du Soleil; the last thing I’d expect from a circus performance is a cerebral and deep investigation of self.

Enter L.I.A.R (Life Is A Rehearsal), a new solo circus performance from LIMBO and Blanc de Blanc Encore alum Remi Martin. Part circus, part theatre, part comedy, Martin and his duo of companions take the audiences through what seems to be a window into moments in this character’s life.

With each scene and costume change, Martin explores a different developmental milestone along the road of life through circus and storytelling.

Martin begins the show in a small, patterned pair of briefs, fit for a young child (despite his, uh, remarkable adult body). Playing with his favourite astronaut toy, Martin impressively flips and giggles about the stage with an unabashedly youthful joy.

Shifting between each scene, Martin’s male companion encourages him to put on his big boy pants – marking a new chapter as the character advances through life and takes on new challenges. Each scene is marked by moments most of us can relate to in life; being young and at play, our first romance, being a cog in the machine of the workplace, dreaming of the future.

Almost entirely devoid of dialogue, Martin and his team expertly navigate this narrative by making these stages obvious to the audience with performance and costume cues. Not only is Martin a master of circus and alacrity, also delivering great emotional range and strength.

Martin’s ‘stage hands’ are also stars in their own right. Dressed in black, the two initially appear to be assistants to the performer, slowly integrating themselves into the show as the hour goes along, surprising the audience with their own set of circus talents and leveling the more serious moments with some welcome smacks of humour.

With almost no set, and certainly no extravagant costumes, the trio exceed expectations with the spectacles they’re able to create on the Teatro’s smaller stage. Most notably, L.I.A.R.‘s penultimate scene transforms a pedestrian office space into a magical dreamscape that had the audience in total awe.

Like life, Life Is A Rehearsal, is not all as serious as I’ve made it seem. Whether you’re seeking a whimsical circus experience, or a deeply reflective theatrical narrative, L.I.A.R. is out of this world.

See L.I.A.R. (Life Is A Rehearsal) until Monday 10th February.

Leigh Andrew Hill is an editor at OUTinPerth, with a BA from the University of Western Australia in Media Studies & Art History. Since 2005, Leigh has studied and practiced journalism, film-making, script-writing, language, contemporary performance and visual arts. Leigh is also a freelancer writer, and producer and presenter on RTRFM 92.1.

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