Common Dissonance

Not all circus is dance, but Na Djinang Circus’ Common Dissonance certainly is. The opening sequence of tumbling and acrobatics appears shockingly effortless. It’s a difficult illusion to achieve in any circus, where the realities of breath, momentum, and weight are unavoidable and the convention of visually or audibly checking in with castmates is well established. In this case, however, Jessica Connell and Johnathon Brown appear like extensions of each other, perfectly aware of where they are, were, and will be, ready to take each other’s weight without perceptible preparation, effort, or delay. The constant motion, encompassing all of House of Oz’s relatively small stage, is positively hypnotic.

The constant motion is positively hypnotic

In addition to the beautiful acrobatics throughout the show by Connell, Brown, and Harley Mann, Common Dissonance also featured some of the best diabolo juggling and hula hooping I have ever seen. Mann’s diabolo routine was creative, funny, and collaborative in a way that a typically solo apparatus rarely is. Above all – it was surprising, from the first moments to the last. Connell’s hula hooping was unusually dynamic and her isolation in harsh lighting and metallic hoops was an early tell of the deeper themes of the show.

It's typical for a circus show to have a chalk bucket somewhere onstage, for performers to use to dry their hands and improve their grip. I have never seen a bowl of water on stage before. Mann and Brown, who are Wakka Wakka and Anawan/Kamilaroi respectively, use the water to mix traditional ochre pigments used by indigenous Australians and paint themselves and the back of the stage. Connell, who is not indigenous, has a more complicated relationship with the pigments that was emotionally impactful if not entirely legible to this reviewer, someone with extremely minimal knowledge of indigenous Australian cultures. Regardless, the impact of all three performances – the ways they intertwined and diverged – was magnificent.

Perhaps it was the small house, perhaps the intensity of the performances or the weight of meaning clearly ascribed to them, perhaps the unexpected dancerly quality of the piece, but Common Dissonance was the sort of circus that elicits more hushed wows wafting up from the audience than raucous applause at the end of an act. The show is all the better for it.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Alex Bailey Dillon

Assembly @ Dance Base

Habitat

★★★★★
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

Brave Space

★★★★★
Summerhall

Nomad

★★★
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

Aloft Presents Sanctuary

★★★★
House of Oz

Common Dissonance

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

A Shark Ate My Penis: A History of Boys Like Me

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

For thousands of years in Australia, understanding of the world came from Dreamtime stories, song lines and oral histories. In a 21st century world, the hypocrisies of a culturally diverse past linger in the wake of a globalised present. Common Dissonance explores this complexity in a moving, contemporary circus work. 'Australia makes good circus, but it’s rare to see a show this moving' (Sydney Morning Herald). 'The piece uses choreography the way opera uses music' (Cameron Woodhead, Age). ***** (HiFiWay.live). ***** (WhatDidSheThink.com).

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets