Circa Beyond Underbelly McEwan Hall

Wow, what can I say – this show has to be seen to be believed. The audience was enthralled and on the edge of our seats with jaws dropped at what this amazingly talented group of performers were doing with their bodies. Circa are an Australian circus group with a difference – a fusion of acrobatics, visuals, mime and music and, on this occasion, a weird and wonderful collection of cartoon furry animal heads to add to the extraordinary experience.

Circa have been in existence since 2006 and since then have built up a well-deserved international reputation through worldwide tours and previous award winning shows such as last year’s Wunderkammer. This year’s show is once more the brainchild of founder and creative Director Yaron Lifschitz and he describes it thus “there is a line between madness and sanity, between logic and dream…we invite you to step over this line… and go Beyond”. The troupe of seven are not just highly trained and experienced acrobats and gymnasts who amaze us with their skills, but also artistes who can transport us into this other warm, funny and breathtaking world.

There are two red curtained stages on each side of the main stage framed by two roof-high poles. The performers leap and tumble across the stage and literally throw themselves at each other, effortlessly catching and passing in a seemingly chaotic but choreographed display. A woman completes a Rubik cube puzzle while others balance on her, not just on her shoulders but wrapped around her on each side. A man uses the poles in ways that a pole dancer could only dream of, his body absolutely horizontal then writhing, twisting, and diving. A woman contorts her body suspended from the roof by twirling bands, there is an incredible display on the trapeze, and acrobatics such as you have never seen before.

In between there are some really funny moments and it was lovely to hear giggles and squeals of delight from children in the audience as well as constant gasps at the sheer audacity of some of the moves. Every one of the performers must be incredibly strong and must do an enormous amount of training to be able to do what they do. Forget any ideas about circus and acrobatics being old hat with tired routines, this is something fresh, new and exciting – you will love it.

Irene Brownlee