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Do see: Circus Oz ‘From the Ground Up’ in Melbourne

Sarah Lim

Tue Jun 26 2012

Cigar boxes – Hammond Brothers

THE latest show from Circus Oz thrilled audiences at its premiere here in Melbourne. Sarah Lim explains why it is an experience not to be missed.

Circus Oz and its new ensemble of characters presented a spectacular opening performance for their brand new show From The Ground Up on June 21. It was a rainy evening, but the venue was packed.

The atmosphere was notably buzzing, with vendors selling donuts and hotdogs in the audience. The stage was set with a big red curtain at the back, which eventually dropped in dramatic fashion when the show kicked off.

The background story for the show was told by Ghenoa Gela, an “Indie Genius” performer searching for the true Australian song. It was befitting then that the show opened with the anthem “God Save Our Queen”, and throughout the night, several other Australian songs were sung in part, including “I Still Call Australia Home” and “Waltzing Matilda” – albeit with slightly altered lyrics.

Circus Oz

Photo: Sarah Lim

From The Ground Up consisted of a great variety of acts and one of the more awe-inspiring and shockingly enthralling ones were the teeterboard and the flying trapeze. Both these acts involved a lot of flips, tumbles, swings and cartwheels.

The teeterboard was similar to a giant seesaw, and the performance involved the cast being propelled into the air while doing flips and landing with great precision, sometimes on a person’s shoulders. The trapeze act was also executed perfectly, and was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Circus Oz

Photo: Rob Blackburn

But the most unique segment of the show was arguably the drum tumble. Performer Bec Matthews did ‘taiko drumming’ in a purpose-built drum hull which was swung around in circles or from side-to-side, while principal acrobat Shane Witt was beneath the big circular contraption, performing tumbles, and the other supporting acrobats back-flipped and tumbled in unison with the drum beats.

Circus Oz

Photo: Sarah Lim

The show also had the crowd in stitches at many points. Acts that were were laugh-out-loud worthy with excellent comedic timing included the act performed with cigar boxes by Luke Taylor and Jeremy Davies, which was basically a routine manipulated by striking sounds with expert juggling skills involved.

Another notable one was the ‘Fantaysia Fitness’ session by Flip Kammerer who attempted to show the audience how to lose weight and be fit.

With the vast variety of performances jammed packed into a two-and-a-half hour performance, the strength of Circus Oz’s From The Ground Up is without question its ability to combine a cast of talents from different backgrounds and deliver a good concoction of humour and wonder through on stage.

Made complete with a live band, Circus Oz entertained its audience not just visually, but aurally.

As the show slowed its momentum, Ghenoa Gela inspired the crowd with her closing speech, saying, “Australia should be like a fruit salad. We should coexist peacefully, but yet, not lose what makes me, me.”

Have a peek at what the crew at Circus Oz did in the lead up to the premier.

Circus Oz’s From The Ground Up is now showing at the Circus Oz Big Top in Melbourne until July 15. Tickets range from $30 to $82.50. To book tickets, visit the Ticketmaster website or call 136 100. For more information the show, read our pre-event feature article or visit the Circus Oz website.