REVIEW | Famous


From Circus to Stardom: FAMOUS Shines with Narrative Brilliance

Reviewed by Brendan Daynes

In a dazzling collision of circus artistry and theatrical brilliance, FAMOUS explores the intoxicating allure of celebrity and the inevitable downfall that follows. Directed by the accomplished Carita Farrer Spencer, whose prolific career spans three decades, this production invites audiences to witness the highs and lows of fame through a unique blend of narrative, acrobatics, and physical comedy.

The plot centres on a group of egomaniacs trapped in a relentless cycle of posing and performing for adoring fans. The narrative, rich and cohesive, ties together some truly impressive circus skills. Performers tumble, twirl, and fly on swinging trapeze, Chinese poles, and other apparatuses, demonstrating remarkable strength and control. The acts are seamlessly woven into the storyline, each one a testament to the performers’ prowess and dedication.

The cast, featuring Anais Stewart, Gabriel Walker, Gemma Jackson, Jasmin Tait, Jasmine Poniris, Jesse Holden, Luca Trimboli, Merlene Hutt, Rose Symons, Taylor Vogt, Ty Wallent, and Zaelea Nolte, delivers award-worthy performances. Each artist brings a unique energy to their role, capturing the delusional grandeur and toxic allure of fame. Their physical comedy adds a layer of humour, making the darker themes of the show more palatable.

Costume and props play a significant role, contributing to both the story and its extravagant atmosphere. Savanna Wegman, in collaboration with Melbourne Polytechnic costume design students, drapes the performers in luxurious attire that exudes opulence. The clever use of textiles and embellishments not only enhances the visual appeal but also underscores the characters’ larger-than-life personas.

The production unfolds on a stage that is itself a character, brought to life by NICA alum and set designer Tim Rutty. The dynamic stage, with its responsive demeanour, enriches the production’s overarching story, engendering an enveloping journey for the audience. Spencer Herd’s lighting design enhances the performance with precision, subtly elevating scenes and allowing the performers’ skills to shine brightly.

FAMOUS explores the fleeting allure of celebrity, delving into the seductive power of the spotlight and the inevitable costs of pursuing immortality. Its themes resonate deeply, weaving a cautionary tale into a visually striking and emotionally charged narrative. This production celebrates local talent, each contributor adding to its toxic yet brilliant, and delusional and enthralling essence.

FAMOUS ran from June 13 – 22 at NICA in Prahran. The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is Australia’s Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts, for more information on NICA please visit

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