Arterial by Na Djinang Circus
A Mesmerising Celebration of First Nations Culture and Connection to Land
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
Arterial by Na Djinang is a feast for the senses, a performance that defies easy classification, and a celebration of the ancient connections that bind First Nations people to each other and to the land. This award-winning show is a mesmerising fusion of circus, dance, and music, directed by Harley Mann and brought to life by the extraordinary talents of four outstanding performers.
From the moment the hush falls over the crowd and the cast softly, yet respectfully, delivers an acknowledgment of country, it’s clear that Arterial is no ordinary show. The sound design of Danni Esposito fills the room and the performers take to the stage with a raw energy and a sense of purpose that is both powerful and deeply moving. The costumes, designed by Emily Barrie, are another element of the show that perfectly complement the movements of the performers and add an extra layer of visual interest.
To describe the four performers as acrobats would be to do them a disservice. They are more like alchemists, transforming their bodies into instruments of expression, channeling the lifeblood that runs through the earth beneath them. Jonathon Brown, Tamara Bouman, Maggie Church-Kopp, and Dylan Singh are all outstanding, bringing a depth of emotion and a sense of raw energy to the performance that is truly captivating. They move together with perfect synchronicity, demonstrating incredible strength, agility, and grace as they explore the unseen bonds between their bodies and the land.
There is no set story or narrative to follow, but rather a series of visual and auditory cues that invite the audience to find their own meaning in the performance. This is a testament to the creative vision of Mann and the rest of the Na Djinang Circus team, who have crafted a performance that is deeply personal, yet universally resonant.
This outstanding piece of theatre that will leave you feeling both deeply moved and profoundly inspired. It’s a show that defies easy description, a fusion of acrobatics, dance, and music that is greater than the sum of its parts. Mann and the Na Djinang Circus team have created something truly unique and deeply personal, a performance that speaks to the heart of what it means to be human, to be connected to the land, and to be part of something greater than ourselves.
In a world that often seems to be tearing itself apart, Arterial is a reminder of the beauty and power of human connection. It’s a performance that will leave you feeling both humbled and uplifted by transporting you to another realm where you feel the beat of the earth beneath your feet and sense the lifeblood that runs through all living things. The performance is a powerful celebration of the rich diversity and cultural significance of First Nations people. Whether you’re a fan of circus, dance, or theatre, there’s something truly special about Arterial that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Arterial played at the Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy from Thursday 20th – Sunday 30th April. For more information on the show visit https://arts.darebin.vic.gov.au/whats-on/event-calendar/2023/04/arterial-by-na-djinang-circus or for more information on Na Dijnang please visit the company’s website, https://www.nadjinang.com.au/