Tag: Kyle Raftery

REVIEW: Circus Oz Presents BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE

Fun but familiar

By Myron My

Circus Oz returns to Melbourne with But Wait…There’s More, fusing circus acts with consumerism and “infobesity”; the idea that everything is being commodified and the world is moving at faster speeds than before.

But Wait... There's More

The opening act of Lilikoi Kaos and her hoops was amazing. With hoop acts becoming a dime-a-dozen in recent circus productions, Kaos brought so much energy and fun to the routine it was impossible not to get swept up by the momentum. The program definitely does not lie when it compares her as a “mixture of Jessica Rabbit, Lucille Ball and Tank Girl”. Kaos has a unique talent that is great to watch on stage.

Similarly the enchanting balletic unicycle act by Kyle Raftery and April Dawson was mesmerising and the accompanying music created an almost whimsical environment. In fact, all the music, led by Ben Hendry and Ania Reynolds, was the one consistently superb factor throughout the show. Each act’s musical soundtrack was perfectly suited to build the mood and the suspense, and change the tone as needed.

Towards the end of last year, I saw Circus Oz’s Close to the Bone. Perhaps it was the more intimate and intense setting of the Melba Spiegeltent that allowed the acts to draw you in, but under the Big Top tent, many of the acts felt lacklustre and uninspiring. There were minimal wow moments and even though circus can be more than just “wow”, when you’re performing in this type of environment, on this type of stage, there needs to be plenty of dramatic climax and intensity.

This was more noticed in the second half of the shown which lacked the variety and the suspense needed to maintain my interest. The performers, such as the consistently amazing Sharon Gruenert, are clearly talented and accomplished in their fields, but as an audience member, there are only so many familiar flips and jumps that a show can have before it stops being interesting.

As a theme, the exploration of consumerism and information-overloading didn’t seem to work within the confines of circus, and despite Candy Bower‘s great voice, the singing numbers were out of place and broke the momentum of the acts. However, the set-ups for the bigger acts were great to watch as the whole ensemble playfully worked together to prepare the stage.

There is no denying that there are a number of highly skilled performers within the company and Circus Oz knows how to put on a good show: I’ve seen them do it before, numerous times. Unfortunately, But Wait…There’s More is not one of their better showings. For all the glitz and sparkle, I didn’t find much substance within the acts – which I guess is where you could argue society is trending with our obsessions on “infobeity” and consumerism.

Venue: Circus Oz Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne (between Federation Square and Batman Avenue).
Season: Until 12 July | Wed- Sat 7:30pm, Sat 1.30pm, Sun 3pm
Tickets: $22 – $95 (plus booking fees)
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100

Image by Rob Blackburn

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REVIEW: Circus Oz Presents BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!

Left wanting more…

By Rachel Holkner

Circus Oz has always performed with such glee and joy, and But Wait… There’s More! is no exception: the performers and the audience are caught up in the joy of simply being a part of a circus. The atmosphere is undeniable, beginning even from collecting tickets to the sounds of the Federation Bells pealing right outside the Big Top.

Circus-Oz-But-Wait…There’s-More

Set in a mottled, crumbling theatre But Wait … There’s More! is the first Circus Oz show to have been produced at their new permanent, purpose-built Collingwood home of which they are suitably proud. If photographs in the program are any indication, the space is beautiful, light-filled, and modern. Everything this production is not.

Taking on “infobesity” as a theme, the idea that we are so inundated with data, marketing, sales, spin and brainless television that… what? The show offers no analysis nor solutions to the topics they try to explore. Instead the conceits are a thin thread to link together disjointed acts, too many of which were not only detached completely from the theme, but not even terribly entertaining.

Barcode clowns scatter through the show disrupting acts, and causing mayhem: their demands for acts to be presented in the form of a game show were irritating and lent nothing but to highlight how underdeveloped some of these filler-acts were.

There were some stunning performances from the ensemble – a ballet performed on unicycle by Kyle Raftery and April Dawson, a poignant juggling act by Olivia Porter – yet these were sadly too few. The show as a whole lacked the highs and lows you expect from a circus, whether side-splitting hilarity or breath-holding tension.

These highly skilled performers were hobbled by an underdeveloped story and I only hope they bring more of the beauty and light from Collingwood into their next production.
Venue: Under the Heated Big Top, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Dates: 18th June – 13th July. Check circusoz.com for full list of times.

Tickets: $24 (Child) – $95 (Ringside)

Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au, 136 100