Knee Deep

Knee Deep


Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art

2nd – 9th June 2012

Reviewed by Michelle Bull

Earlier this year I saw a little taster performance of Casus’s Knee Deep at an Adelaide Fringe Festival event and since that moment I have been waiting impatiently for it to come home to Brisbane so I might see the whole show. Well the moment came last night and it was everything I’d hoped it would be.

Comprising of performers from Circa, Polytoxic and The Flying Fruit-Fly Circus; Casus is Jessie Scott, Natano Fa’anana, Emma Serjeant and Lachlan McAulay. Together these dynamic young performers create the embodiment of contemporary circus performance as they combine their outstanding individual talents with a strong sense of ensemble and a childlike sense of play.

Complemented by live projection, onstage cameras and a killer musical score, the performers communicated each movement with sensitivity, tenderness and raw skill, making for a captivating performance that explored and challenged the capabilities of the human body.

Off the back of seeing productions that relied heavily on words and sound to communicate, Knee Deep was a slap in the face as to how much can be said through physical language, as the exploration and discovery of each performers strengths and limitations had the audience gasping and applauding simultaneously.

Communicating ideas of freedom, release, relationships, trust, grace, power, strength and comedy, in Knee Deep circus tricks became more than an execution of technical skill, they seemed to take on a voice of their own, as the performers played with tempo, energy and colour to create shapes and lines evoking pin-dropping silences and emotional responses from the audience.

Using silks and trapeze to create lines and shapes that could only be described as dangerously elegant, the fluidity and softness of each performer showed no sign of strain or the inherent strength required, instead they exuded a gracefulness and ease that was astounding. The minimalistic set and tastefully basic yet effective use of lighting was the perfect accompaniment this, adding mood to the responsive and stripped back nature of the production. Lighting was also used as an active element of the performance as Casus incorporated its effects to add dimension and depth to the artistic visual; suspended shapes highlighted as their shadow stretched far beyond the physical.

The use of eggs as a reoccurring theme throughout the production added emphasis and an element of danger, as well as acting as inspiration for a chuckle or two when Serjeant appears with a hammer!

Small slivers of narrative helped to create context, but were secondary to the exceptional onstage relationships between the performers, whose seamless transitions, strong physical communication and combined explorations were a lesson in stagecraft no matter what your discipline.

I urge everyone to go and see this show. Travelling far beyond mere strength and entertaining tricks, Casus’ Knee Deep is contemporary circus art at it’s finest.

Book your tickets because the buzz surrounding this show is sure to mean a sellout season!


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