Circa begins with a simple contortion of a human body: a girl stands and slowly bends herself to her extreme limits and then a little further. A simple start but it’s one that echoes Circa’s statement, their desire to reach ‘beyond’ the supposed possibilities of performance: “There is a line between human and animal, between madness and sanity, between logic and dream...” and Circa invite us to step over this line, to go beyond. They do, they go above and beyond, and then do a flip to top it all off.
The entire show is performed as just that, a show. It’s not only immensely skilled but openly controlled.
What makes this performance so engaging is not merely the stunning variety of acts on display but the style of the execution; the soundtrack is superb and the comical verve of the entire cast carry even supposedly dull moments of transition into comical interludes that stand just as confidently on the stage as some of the main acts. Multiple Miley Cyrus-style rabbit heads embellish the cast from the start and inspire the kind of tongue in cheek comedy that can be expected from this dynamic and exciting group.
The tricks and flips of their bodies seem supernatural; suspended in the air they often appear weightless - several men supported on the shoulders of a woman, as traditional gender roles are wonderfully reversed. There are even moments of magic peppered amongst the more traditional scenarios; a gorgeously executed acrobatic dance to Bonnie Tyler with a single piece of paper is a particular hit.
Most of the audience forget how to breathe during several of the more death-defying acts in which performers hang precariously from ropes, silks, and poles, or even simply each other’s bodies. The beauty of the silk swings see performers cut through the air in a comical dance of twisted limbs that turns Houdini-eque as the cast attempt to free themselves. They cling to each other like limpets, newborn babies, erratic earrings or bits of washing, at other times they seem to repel each other like magnets, swinging around Chinese poles with single hands, flying across the room only to land, with feline precision, safe on all fours.
The entire show is performed as just that, a show. It’s not only immensely skilled but openly controlled. The cast’s puppet-like contortions give way to the whims of animalistic urges under the pressure of performance. It’s comical and works a subtle narrative string throughout the entire piece: here they are, the performers, going beyond the human, beyond the animal, they’re themselves, about as strange and superhuman as you can get.
Not only can these performers do every kind of flip, jump and catch you can conceive, simultaneously they also manage to complete a Rubik's cube. Circa invite you to go beyond and I really think you should join them.