First published in Onya Magazine on June the 21st, 2010.
The spectacle of the year, the must see of 2010, is not anything you’d expect it to be – or anything you’ve seen before.
It’s not a sporting event. It’s not an international performer in concert. It’s not a blockbuster film. It’s Circus Oz. And it covers all bases.
A night at Circus Oz intertwines everything we expect from entertainment – humour, awe, a touch of magic, shock, suspense, funky fashion, live music, boundaries being pushed physically and just the right amount of sexiness. And this year’s Circus Oz ‘Under The Big Top’ delivers all of those things. And more.
The circus can so easily be relegated to magicians and rabbits out of hats, ring-tamers and lions, freaks and clowns. Circus Oz is none of those things. It’s stylish, without trying to hard. Funny, without being forceful. And magical, without being corny.
The theme for Circus Oz 2010 is Steampunk – and the parallels between the theme and the contemporary circus are endless. The two are a match made in circus heaven.
The entire show – from the moment the band forces you to attention, right through to the very end – is superb. It features hoop diving, inline skating, juggling (and some amazing foot work you couldn’t possibly have ever seen before), group bike, rola bola, pole and so much more – including one very talented vocalist Sarah Ward. Her presence on stage is electric, her entire personality clownish. The same must be said for the performers on stage, including six new Circus Oz members that, quite impressively, give the air of being circus performers for years.
What impressed me further about Circus Oz, beyond the show, is that this uniquely Australian group has been around for three decades – and has performed across the entire world – to hundreds of thousands of people. Melbourne, I discovered, is one of the top three circus cities in the world – and when you witness a spectacle such as Circus Oz, it is really not hard to see why. Fitting, it is then, that the world premiere season kicked off last Thursday night in the city Circus Oz was born in – and the city that plans to continue supporting it – financially, as well as by having people show up in the masses and clap until their hands are pink.
Australia has a lot to be proud of – and Circus Oz is a part of that, even though it is rarely thought of as being so. For a group, an organisation, that has an equal number of men and women on stage and behind the scenes, that includes a diverse range of backgrounds, all working together to deliver a show of original live music and performance, embracing the notion of diversity, variety and eclectic hilarity – well yes, indeed – we have a great deal to be proud of.
Do yourself a favour and see the must see of the year.
Circus Oz runs in Melbourne until July the 11th, 2010 at Birrarung Marr, Between Federation Square & Batman Avenue, Melbourne.