“Since 2004 we have been stripping circus of the paraphernalia of the spectacle and discovering what is vital, beautiful and joyous in the physical fact of performance.”

Circa performers: Freyja Edney, Darcy Grant, Scott Grove, Emma McGovern, Jesse Scott, Emma Serjeant & Lewis West

Conceived, designed and directed by Yaron Lifschitz

Reviewed by: Mike Langhorne

Reviewed: 11 March, 2010
Venue: Barbican Theatre, London

Circa. Photograph: is a Brisbane-based group of seven (four men and three girls) specialising in what can best be described as acrobatic dance. The programme note explains that their work “defies description”, which is pretty well true. It is a mixture of theatre, tumbling, acrobatics and modern dance performed on a bare stage to an edgy musical score with changes of lighting to reflect the mood.

The very fit-looking young cast perform barefoot in leotards (the girls) and long trousers (the men) and take us through 80 continuous minutes of spectacular movements – sometimes a team performance sometimes a solo. Their strength and agility enabled them to perform turns that left the capacity audience applauding wildly.

A few props were employed – a trapeze, hoops, a rope which descended from the flies and, perhaps most dramatically of all, a pair of stiletto-heeled shoes which, after donning, one of the girls proceeded to climb all over one of the men in a sequence of movements that left the audience gasping in concern for the chap who seemed to be on course for a serious puncturing. Of course he emerged unscathed.

Eighty minutes seemed just about enough for one evening, during which the entertainment was clever, exciting and potentially dangerous. Hopefully, Circa will return to the Barbican Theatre. “Do something different” is a Barbican Centre mantra; on this occasion, it was well-worth it.

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