Thursday, 11 December 2003

My Secret Circus, NICA, Dec 11, 2003

My Secret Circus
National Institute of Circus Arts with Myer Melbourne  
 Myer Mural Hall,  6th Floor, Myer Bourke St.  Daily 11am, 1pm,  until December 19, 2003 

Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Dec 11, 2003

The silly season finally got too much for the big department store. Myer is running away with the circus - and having a hoot of a time.

Years One and Two of The National Institute of Circus Arts are performing two short shows in the lovely old Myer Mural Hall usually saved for banquets and morning teas.

This sassy group of over thirty young circus students, under the stylish direction of John Saunders,  produce two skilful, delightful and memorable shows.

The first show is designed with 8 year olds in mind. The set is chock full of Chrissie   trees, gifts and string lighting. It has plenty of slapstick and clowns and other physical comedy. There is even a wonderful Keystone Cops  chase scene.

The littlies in the audience are keen to participate and call out, He's behind you!" when the cops chase the robber. There is more comedy with two goofy painters who do a routine on the Russian Bar,  a flat board like a wide tight rope.

A Christmas tree angel comes to life on her hoop trapeze and a group of ballet girls in tutus team up with some punkettes  on a triple trapeze.
Some exceptional skill is demonstrated by a group of young men balancing horizontal on a vertical pole.

Both shows have energetic group choreography.  (Trish Squire) but show number two has a break dance and hip hop finale that had the crowd cheering.

This second show has a more of a teenage edge. It is sexy as well as funny and clever. Five naughty looking gals in purple writhe around each other on the cloud swing. A Sergeant Major hollers  at his dancing squad then, astoundingly, tap dances on his hands.

 Later, Cleopatra slinks up and down on her enormously long orange fabric scarves, attended by two doting male slaves. A group of sensuous Marilyn Monroe look alikes perform a teasing routine with innumerable Hula Hoops.  The boys follow with their sensational Chinese Hoop diving.

What makes these shows is the charm, energy and commitment of the group of performers and their palpable joy at doing what they love. Running away to the circus.

By Kate Herbert

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