REVIEW: Batton & Broadway Present THE CLASSICS

Veteran circus performers continue to delight

By Myron My

The popularity of circus shows is certainly rising in Melbourne. Although there are constantly more and more exciting performances being held, the opportunity to see a show with a difference does not always present itself. Presented by Batton & Broadway, The Classics is one show with quite the difference: all the performers are over 50 years old. It is a rare opportunity to see a variety of talented artists unite in doing what they have done for decades, and also to enjoy the reminder that that the older you get doesn’t have to mean the less can you do.

The Classics

Our MCs for the night, Sue Broadway and Debra Batton, share quite the charming camaraderie and their quips back and forth feel spontaneous and natural. I do feel, however, that more time was required for the transition of the acts and the show’s overall stage direction, which often popped that enchanting bubble of wonderment you want to stay in when at the circus. 

The acts themselves are a variety of hits and misses with the opening numbers not really having the pulling power and spectacle you expect from a circus show to draw in the audience immediately. The two sets of trapeze and silks routines seemed like an odd choice, especially when the second acts were nowhere near as strong as their predecessors. With different performers scheduled for different nights of The Classics however, this might not be a regular line-up.

Having said that, Anni Davey and Kathryn Niesche‘s trapeze act was enthralling to watch and provided something quite unique to the evening. The opening act for the second half was also notably enjoyable, with a rendition of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” that hit all the right notes in its entertainment. Peter Gray‘s clowning and juggling act was immensely fun and quite possibly the highlight of the whole evening, managing to get the whole audience warmly involved with his routine.

There is strong skill and a wealth of experience on display with The Classics, and you can’t help but wonder if the performers are this good in their fifties, how amazing would they have been to watch 30 years ago, and how much could younger artists learn from their combined wealth of experience and skill? Despite the lulls in some of the acts, The Classics is a great opportunity to watch these deservedly classic circus performers show us that they’ve still got it

Venue: The Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood
Season: Until 12 December | 8pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: Circus Oz

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