Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tennis Elbow Family Circus, Jan 20, 2009 ***1/2

Tennis Elbow Family Circus by Dislocate
Spiegelworld Melbourne Park, Australian Open Tennis Festival,Jan 20- Feb 1, 2009
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ***1/2

Dislocate has a cute family circus show called Tennis Elbow – and, funnily, it’s at the Australian Tennis Open. The three acrobats, Kate Fryer, DJ . Geoffrey … , perform a 45 minute show that is a melange of circus apparatus routines, acrobatics, slapstick and comic patter, with some audience participation thrown into the mix.

To get to the venue you need to negotiate a path through Melbourne Park, past sunburnt tennis freaks sitting on lawns staring at a huge screen watching Federer beat everybody else. You’ll get to the Spiegeltent and everything will be cool – if the air con is working.

The trio move effortlessly with each other – an outcome of their long history as a company. They integrate complex balances with two or three bodies as well as acrobatic leaps and tumbling to create relationships and story.

Geoffrey plays the goofy fool who makes mistakes, turns the wrong way, misses cues, misunderstands directions and causes crashes and falls. Of course the kids are delighted by an accident, especially if nobody is really hurt. His spinning rope routine tickled the kids and adults.

Petite Kate grins relentlessly at the children and keeps trying to introduce her guitar act. She does so with air guitar when she performs her comic but skilful tissu routine – a ground to air act that involves climbing swathes of fabric.

DJ plays the leader of the gang, always comically trying to inject professionalism into the show. His routine on straps is a display of strength and flexibility that still maintains a relationship with the children. This is unusual in circus acts as the strenuousness of the technique often precludes much communication.

The show is playful, engaging and skilful. There are laughs and gasps of astonishment from all the family.

By Kate Herbert

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