REVIEW | Smash It!

Smash It!

Unites Youthful Energy with Timeless Talent for a Circus Spectacle Like No Other

Reviewed by Brendan Daynes

Circus Oz reaffirms its status as a performing arts staple for the last four decades, delivering a captivating performance with its latest offering, Smash It! Premiering as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, this performance is a circus extravaganza that takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of chaos, hilarity, and jaw-dropping feats.

As soon as the audience steps foot into the theatre, an electric atmosphere of infectious energy fills every corner. From the very first moments, the cast break the fourth wall, effortlessly forging a connection with the audience. This dynamic engagement not only sets the tone for the performance but also ignites a sense of camaraderie and shared adventure among audience members.

One of the most striking aspects of the show is the multi-generational cast, whose ages span from early twenties to mid-sixties. This diversity not only adds richness to the performance but also highlights the timeless nature of circus arts. The older cast members, in particular, demonstrate their experience and expertise, handling every challenge with grace and skill.

The heart of the show lies in its breathtaking displays of circus skills performed by Angelique Ross, Celso March, Debra Batton, Leo Pentland, Mozes Heawood, Sharon Gruenert, and Spenser Inwood. From tightrope walking to acrobatics to group counterbalance, the performers execute each act with precision and flair. Highlights include an awe-inspiring trapeze finale that leaves the audience breathless. Yet, what truly sets this spectacle apart is not just the physical prowess on display, but also the lighthearted humour that infuses every moment. Before the first performer even takes to the stage, the cast sets the tone with playful banter and comedic antics that immediately engage the audience, inviting them to become active participants in the experience.

The costumes by Laurel Frank perfectly capture the show’s grungy essence, while the live music by Carl Polke, Chris Lewis, and Sophie Dunn enhances the sensory experience. David Woods, the director, and Nicci Wilks, the assistant director, have infused this show with their boundless creativity. Additionally, the production team, including Stephen Burton, Christian Schooneveldt Reid, Gina Gascoigne, Tim Coldwell, and Mike Finch, have each contributed their expertise and passion to their craft helping to bring this production to life.

In addition to the remarkable technical display, the performance stands as a testament to Circus Oz’s vibrant personality and unwavering ethos. Founded in 1978 as a politically progressive ensemble, the company’s dedication to diversity, inclusion, and originality permeates every aspect of the show, lending it an unmistakable authenticity. The production’s universal appeal transcends age boundaries, offering a celebration of both youthful exuberance and the wisdom that accompanies experience. This underscores the timeless ability of circus arts to inspire, entertain, and unite individuals from diverse backgrounds and generations.

Smash It! stands as a testament to the boundless creativity, skill, and sheer joy that define Circus Oz, a company that continues to push the boundaries of imagination. This production is no exception; whether you’re a seasoned circus aficionado or a first-time spectator, the electrifying energy and performances will leave you spellbound.

Smash It! is playing at Arts Centre Melbourne – Fairfax Studio, as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 28th March until 21st April. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets please visit https://circusoz.com/performance/smash-it/

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