Posts Tagged ‘acrobats

18
Feb
20

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

 

KURIOS

Le Cabinet des Curiosites

Cirque du Soleil

Grand Chapiteau, Northshore, Hamilton

January 10 – February 23 2020

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

The roar of joy that set the worlds in motion

Is reverberating in your body

And the space between all bodies…

 

The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche, PHD

 

 

 

Behind every challenge, there are always beautiful risks.

Chantal Tremblay, KURIOS Creative Director

 

ONLY 10 Brisbane shows left!

 

Circus has always been about coming together in awe and wonder, laughing and gasping, shouting and applauding, recognising and celebrating, and expressing the collective roar of joy beneath the Big Top, marvelling at the breathtaking, beautiful business on stage of taking human potential to its limits. No one can create this space, in which time stops still for more than 90 minutes, quite like Cirque du Soleil can. 

 

If you’ve been following @xsentertainment on socials, you will have noticed that my worlds have been less about live theatre lately and more about our inner theatre, however; as these worlds so beautifully and naturally converge, it should come as no surprise that any further study/work/play with actors and non-actors, all looks and sounds a little a LOT similar. In fact, I’ve just about given up trying to tell people what I “do” and have started telling people who ask, that if they think it would be of some use to them, I’ll happily “be” right by them when they need. This is a new brand of life force coaching and creative facilitation. You don’t have to be a performer to get it, or to get the benefits from it – you just have to be human. 

 

As an instinctive meditation coach and change maker, I see all my worlds and possible futures coming together; making sense of working in theatres, private studios, and school settings for so long, travelling, and writing and responding to live theatre and lived experience; it all begins to make more sense than ever, as it becomes crystal clear to me that we all need the same – but different – very personal support. 

 

 

KURIOS: Cabinet de Curisotes dabbles less in the darker aspects and revels much more in our playfulness and childlike curiousity of life, making it the perfect entertainment and escape for all ages.

 

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes . . .

We are in a future past – a Thomas-Edison-meets-Jules-Verne retro-future. We are now or never.

Close your eyes and open your heart. Now look again and behold the wonder. Seize it!

 

 

Cirque virgins and long-time lovers alike will enjoy KURIOS: the Cabinet of Curiosities, written and directed by Michael Laprise. We delight in its steampunk inspired style, and some slightly different acts, though during the Brisbane Premiere, those that are a little less physically daring – the yo-yo and the invisible circus – appear to be the most under-appreciated. The skill required to perform such a short, fast paced, double yo-yo piece is undeniable, however; this act perhaps falls short of some expectations.

 

Looking a little like my favourite Woodfordian postie, Astrid (AKA Zen Zen Zo’s Gina Limpus, recognised this week as the Bille Brown Best Emerging Artist in Brisbane at the Matilda Awards), our Aerial Bicycle artist is suspended mid-air, performing a number of amazing and amusing upside-down tricks.

 

 

The quickest, slickest contortionists ever, appearing as splendidly coloured electric eels, twist and turn themselves into incredible balances and pyramids on top of a fully mechanised hand, crawling downstage like a giant crustacean emerging from the rock pools at low tide. This is a masterclass for physical performers, in timing, precision, specificity and dynamic stillness.

 

A Russian Cradle Duo appears from their music box to perform a thrilling aerial act 4 metres above us. The Strongman flings a porcelain-faced ballerina into the air, allowing her to achieve somersaults of increasing complexity in the space above him. He is stoked each time they succeed; it’s gorgeous to see and hear his roar of joy intermingle with the appreciative sounds from the audience.

 

Rola Bola features a suave Lazytown style aviator, balancing on a teetering structure of cylinders and planks, which he constructs inside a trapeze Washington, the ultimate balance test as it swings like a pendulum; incredible.

 

The largest acro net in the world becomes the setting for my favourite act and the highlight of the show; featuring Australian acrobats, Fletcher Donohue and Nathan Dennis; it becomes home to an incredible ensemble of wriggling sea creatures, childlike, cheeky, a little bit crazy! These flying fish leap higher than we imagine might be possible, but isn’t that the point? Not only does this act celebrate its unique and quirky characters, it relishes its daredevil nature and a terrific sense of humour, before making way for the more serious and serene Continent of Doubles. Their aerial straps and extraordinary strength and grace allow them to soar through the air as if they were on broomsticks in a Quidditch field, pure magic. The program notes suggest that this act is an ode to individuality, emancipation and cooperation.

 

One of the world’s 10 smallest people, Australia’s Rima Hadchiti, stands at 3.3 feet tall and as Mini Lili, represents the intuitive mind of Mr Microcosmos, the embodiment of technological progress. She lives in a tiny Victorian world and adds elegance, refinement and subtle humour to the show. 

 

Building on the notions of brotherhood and the Catalan tradition of castells (castles), the Banquine acrobats are perfectly synchronised, and the epitome of strength, poise, perfect focus, connection and teamwork.

 

I adore Sophie Guay, Canadian chanteuse/street singer, reminding us how insignificant words can be when the voice itself will do (her scat is fantastic), and a lively, vibrant band featuring French cellist, Guillaume Bongiraud and Australian drummer, Paul Butler. This might be my new favourite upbeat soundtrack.

 

KURIOS is the joyous recognition – in the same vein as The Greatest Showman or Baz Luhrman’s brilliant can can sequence in Moulin Rouge – of the magic and beauty of all our unique differences, our crazy similarities, and our basic daily requirement for awe, wonder, connection and celebration.

 

 

Cirque du Soleil, the circus of the sun, continues to raise the bar; there is no show on earth quite like the world created each time, for all people, everywhere. How can we even expect the best to be bettered? Somehow, there continues to be something for everyone; the medicine to treat every ailment. And there’s never been a better (darker, more challenging, more taxing) time to bring some extra light and utter delight into our world. Whether it’s your first or tenth time under the Big Top – and the new grey and white one is a beauty – there is so much on offer here. Miss it and miss another opportunity, presented by artists on a silver platter, to savour the pleasure you remember from another time and place. The theatre – music, circus, dance, magic – is still the easiest way to find it!

 

Splurge and experience the full VIP package or book a Backstage Tour, and a Meet and Greet!

 

Love is inside you

Life is beautiful

Life is more powerful than fear

We are with you

We are with you

We are with you

Courage

Everything is possible

 

 

30
Nov
16

KOOZA

KOOZA

Cirque du Soleil

Skygate, next to Brisbane Airport DFO

November 24 2016 – January 8 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

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Which Cirque du Soleil shows have you seen? Australia has seen eight:

Quidam – Dralion – Varekai – OVO – TOTEM – Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour – Saltimbanco – KOOZA

KOOZA (since 2007) is touted as being Cirque du Soleil’s best show yet, but it’s not my favourite. It’s light and bright and lots of fun without delving too deeply into the psyche or anything overly social or political. And, in times of trouble in the world, apparently that’s just what we need. 

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As the court clowns and the foolish footmen build the tension of a new show the king shuts off the lights… the show has begun. One spotlight appears…a clown…”the innocent ” trying to fly a kite, a large box appears and out comes the trickster. Who will be the KOOZA?

– Poppy Eponine

KOOZA is not entirely without narrative and some would say it’s the most simple and effective story of all (there have been some convoluted plots in the past, let’s be honest). This one features a powerful Trickster (Vladislav Zolotarev), who springs from a box to lead the Innocent, a naive and charming clown (Joey Arrigo), on a fantastical journey through fun times with new funny friends to find his place in the world. It’s a wafer thin classic quest premise, a young hero’s journey – the Innocent’s gotta’ find his corner of the sky – and by combining acrobatics and the art of clowning, we get the best of all aspects of traditional circus (Creator and Director David Shiner).

KOOZA comprises many disparate pieces, something for everyone, and boasts an Olympics worthy international ensemble of acrobats, contortionists and aerial artists. KOOZA might be the first Cirque you’ve ever seen, in which case you won’t look for deeper meaning and you’ll probably see this company’s most exciting and death defying acts straight up.

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On opening night we were privileged to see Queenslander, Lisa Skinner, on the aerial hoop, her act fast and furious; she just a whirl of bright colour high above our heads, and spinning until blurry, toes barely touching the ground, centrestage. Barely into the same act during Sunday’s matinee, Skinner fell from a height of almost 5 metres and landed face first on the floor, sustaining injuries for which she was treated before being taken by ambulance to hospital. My sister (a stage manager) wasn’t calling Sunday’s show, she saw the accident on the monitor backstage. Our parents were in the audience and my mum cried out, along with hundreds of other horrified witnesses. They said Skinner looked as if she might be dead, with her neck resting at an odd angle. Fortunately, Skinner is recovering well. Having already undergone shoulder reconstruction before the commencement of this tour, she must be devastated to miss performing in front of her home crowd for the remainder of the season. 

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The contortionists deliver an exquisite act of ancient serpentine elegance and humour, their bodysuits, of jewels and earth, glistening as they bend and twist and impossibly pose (Sunderiya Jargalsaikhan, Ninjin Altankhuyag & Odgerel Byambadorj). A unicycle duo delight (Olga Tutynina & Yury Shavro), teeterboard acrobats defy gravity, high wire antics thrill, and the balancing chair act elicits gasps of genuine disbelief and awe (Yao Deng Bo). Yao Deng Bo is my favourite performer, the epitome of focus, strength, balance, grace and old world circus charm.

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The Wheel of Death (or, more philosophically and psychoanalytically, The Wheel of Life-Death-Life) proves itself the highlight of the show, although we missed much of it due to the sweat sheet and poor sight lines behind a lighting truss in our seating section. The Columbian acrobats, Ronald Montes & Jimmy Zapata actually risk their lives during this performance; it’s terrifying to watch. I wish we’d been able to see more of it. KOOZA is the first Cirque show to incorporate front of house lighting, requiring the trusses spaced throughout the Grand Chapiteau, and I wonder if it’s the last. The little we were able to see of the skilled artist leaping above the arm of one of these towers was indeed impressive, as he ran and rose magically from the hamster wheel on one end of the turning mechanism, but it lacked tension and thrill factor for us. The same problem applied to the double high wire act and we heard a number of disgruntled audience members around us. Do these people offer their feedback to the company? I hope they do, and I hope, rather than giving a 1-star rating on Trip Advisor or Facebook, they simply advise friends to book seats in a different section. Poppy had an ideal view from Section 200, where she was sitting with her cousins, and she could not stop talking about these amazing acts for days.

The contortionist act was spellbinding but still second-best to THE WHEEL OF DEATH (dah dah dah!). How Ronald Solis Montes & Jimmy Ibarra Zapata amazingly survive the wheel of death time & time again I do not know.   

– Poppy Eponine   

A tight band under the direction of Carl Murr, and powerhouse singer, clad in rich, colourful silks (Jennlee Shallow), deliver KOOZA’s original jazz, funk and Bollywood styled music with gusto. The beautiful, magical structure that holds them, a tall, ornately carved, cylindrical timber tower, the Bataclan, glides forward to feature the musicians and then backwards to serve as an entrance and exit for various acts (Designer Stephanie Roy). It’s a glorious piece of design, fully integrated into the show. I love the way our Australian percussionist (Adelaide’s Ben Todd) is brought out into centrestage to be featured, just as each acrobat takes his or her turn in the spotlight. And spilling from the doorway (only to be chased by a Death Cape destined pack of 150 fake fur rats), I enjoyed the exuberant Day of the Dead dance; it’s a theme from which I’d love to see Cirque draw more heavily.

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Irina Akimova’s hoop manipulation is also highly entertaining but it’s her magnificent feathered coat, the standout costume in this show, that leaves a lasting impression. The KOOZA costumes, designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt, are inspired by comic books and graphic novels, the work of Gustav Klimt, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. (You’ll see the influence of the flying monkeys on the faces of the acrobats on the double high wire). In KOOZA we see much more from the clowns than in previous Cirque shows and rather than use gibberish to communicate, these clowns speak English. It takes away a little of their charm but it means that every punch line lands just right. The King (Gordon White) and his court jesters (Michael Garner & Michael Berlanga) are clearly adored by the vast majority.

KOOZA is guaranteed quality from the world’s best circus creatives and a collective of 50 performing artists/super humans, and it’s super fun for the whole family. I would never miss a Cirque show and nor should you.

09
Jun
14

Controlled Falling Project

 

Controlled Falling Project

ThisSideUp

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

June 4 – 7 2014

 

Reviewed by Ruth Ridgway

 

Amazing feats in the Acrophysics Laboratory

 

CONTROLLED+FALLING+PROJECT+hero

 

Enter the laboratory of acrobatic impossibilities where impulsive energy and intricate action combine to create a thrilling experiment in control, as these dangerously talented and fearlessly curious acrobats challenge the extremes of their physical ability.

 

In the Controlled Falling Project, the scene is an old-time physics laboratory run by a mad scientist and three assistants. A blackboard gives the titles of five experiments, and around the stage are chairs, other bits of wood and poles, a big work lamp, and a jointed 2D wooden female figure. The time seems to be about the 1950s (or maybe a little earlier). The all-male group wear trousers, white shirts, ties, braces, and small-brimmed hats.

 

The show starts with the three assistants reporting for work. They kid around like naughty schoolboys, and the older scientist has some trouble managing them. The format is that the scientist shows the team the task, they set it up, and then perform the experiments, interspersed with bits of clowning. Some of the clowning is slightly sinister, with the men manipulating, caressing and dancing with the wooden female figure, and playing with small doll-like effigies. A variety of mostly cheery music (from jazzy to klezmer) accompanies the acts, as well as the mad scientist live on drums.

 

My favourite experiment was the Fibonacci, based on spiral shapes (and referring to the mathematical Fibonacci Sequence). In a low-key start, the three performers spiral around each other, swapping hats. The climax is an amazing act with the Roue Cyr (Cyr Wheel), like a giant hoop. The wheel circles the stage, with the performer spinning around it and inside it in various unbelievable ways, using its momentum. Oh, I wish I could do that!

 

The teeterboard act that concluded the show was breathtaking. The performers jump up and down on the ends of the seesaw-like apparatus, catapulting each other into the air, and executing more and more daring aerial manoeuvres.

 

In all the acts, the performers achieved incredible feats, from tumbling and balancing in human pyramids, and demonstrating ‘controlled falling’ in the dismounts, to synchronised hand balancing on small blocks mounted on poles. The second act involved setting chairs up on top of each other in a miraculously balanced ‘staircase’, with the three performers doing handstands, each one step higher than the other.

 

All the acts had the audience whooping and cheering, and the hour-long show passed in a flash. During the show, ThisSideUp award themselves the Nobel Prize for Acrophysics, and I think they deserve it.

 

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14
Feb
14

The Great Spavaldos WTF14

WTF 2014 Brisbane Powerhouse

 

February 13 – 23 2014

 

The Great Spavaldos (UK)

By Sylvia Mercuriali & Simon Wilkinson for Il Pixel Rosso

Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre

February 11 -22 2014

 

Reviewed by Guy Frawley

 

 

The Great Spavaldos isn’t so much a piece of theatre to be witnessed as it is a fully immersive experience to be lived.

 

 

The Great Spavaldos

The creative team take your photo once you’ve been fitted with your goggles and just before you’re taken out to explore their virtual world. It doesn’t even begin to give justice to the fabulous weirdness of this show.

 

Hijacking four of the five senses, this event toys with with your sense of sight, touch, sound and smell to transport you into the dark underbelly of a 1940s circus troupe, leaving you disorientated and awed.

 

In the foyer of the Powerhouse you’re fitted with headphones and as the voice over begins you’re quickly pulled into the fantastical world of the eponymous Spavaldo brothers.

 

 

Before long however you realise you’re not exactly watching their story, you’re living their story, you become one half of this gravity defying, acrobatic duo.

 

Mere minutes after arriving at the theatre, flustered from a spot of rather bothersome city traffic and relieved I’d made it in time for my 6pm viewing, I was mounted on a trapeze and staring nervously at the floor that seemed to be at least 10 meters beneath me, suffice to say I’d well and truly forgotten everything else that had preoccupied me during the day. In reality my feet were likely only inches above the floor but there in that moment, perched atop the trapeze, rope gripped firmly in both hands with the sound of the audience cheering beneath me…well lets just say my acute fear of heights seemed very real, and logic be damned, the boys and girls from Il Pixel Rosso have hit the virtual reality nail right on the head.

 

With a pair of video goggles, a set of headphones and some delightfully creative staging, The Great Spavaldos is 25 minutes of immersive joy. This is the kind of experience that you walk out of and immediately want to tell all of your friends about, more than that, you want to drag them along to experience it for themselves; It’s just so freakin’ cool!

 

It’s tantalising to wonder about the other stories that could be told using such a method and I for one would love to see where else the creative team behind The Great Spavaldos take this concept. Hopefully their creative journey will bring them back to Brisbane sooner rather than later! You do however still have until the 22nd of February to catch this show and regardless of what your taste is in theatre I challenge you to experience this piece and to not walk out of the performance space with a massive grin on your face.

 

the great spavaldos – promo 1280×720 from il-pixel rosso on Vimeo.