Monday, May 7, 2012

Gasworks Circus Showdown

Three High Acrobatics
Circus Showdown – Grand Finale
Gasworks Arts Park
May 5

With onstage feedback from the judges and scores out of 10 awarded on white placards, the inaugural Circus Showdown competition uses a familiar format. What’s different about this talent quest is the focus on original circus acts.

Unsurprisingly, graduates from the National Institute of Circus Arts made up a large portion of the six grand finalists. Hannah Cryle and Caz Walsh’s highly skilled double trapeze act is gorgeously cheerful, but slightly lacking in character development.

Hand balancing, acrobatics and break dancing feature in Thomas Gorham’s zombie themed skit, including the obligatory rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, though further editing would improve the pace.

Jamie Bretman’s mix of clowning, mime, juggling and danced interpretations is a little patchy, yet ultimately sweet.

Unfortunately scenes from the Women’s Circus Leggings are Not Pants  lose their narrative thread and comic power when taken out of the context of the full-length production.

Ruby Rowat and Sharon Gruenert show the benefits of years of professional experience with their short work, The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer. A thoughtful, powerful, duo trapeze which plays with gender and androgyny, their act won the Gasworks Foundation Award for best female director, as well as second prize overall.

But the clear winners were Three High Acrobatics, whose high octane, tongue-in-cheek rip off of reality TV renovation shows combines great skills with clever comedy and a self-aware deconstruction of contemporary circus. The blokey energy and Aussie rock anthem soundtrack screams potential Tap Dogs-style global success.

A version of this review was published in The Age newspaper


  1. This is what we call a fun show!

  2. I check your A version of this review i think that was for Grand Finale.