Posts Tagged ‘flipside circus

09
Apr
16

Kaleidoscope

 

Kaleidoscope

Judith Wright Centre & Company 2 supported by Flipside Circus

Judith Wright Centre Performance Space

April 6 – 9 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Sometimes the heart breaks and cracks open because so much love is bursting through.

– Ethan Wharton-Langridge

Kaleidoscope is a remarkable circus show that hopes to bring to life the colour, chaos and incredible beauty of Ethan’s everyday life.

– Chelsea McGuffin

KaleidoscopeFinalsHR-6.jpg

“Everyday life is full of wonder. Even the lighting changing from white and plain to beautiful colour reflects the beauty of the little things that make Ethan’s life possibly better than our own… When the lighting reflects on the ceiling it’s like a dream…”

 Poppy Eponine

This show is pure love. It’s play and love and laughter, and kids supporting kids just by being with each other, near each other, adoring each other before judging each other. It’s a valuable reminder of so many things.

The kids are sleeping – or trying to sleep – tossing and turning, climbing over each other and resettling, and while we see them moving across the floor the live feed filmed from above creates an optical illusion, projected onto the scrim, turning the kids into scrambling superheroes with the power to leap and fly through the air. Their floor tower crumbles, and the boy at the highest point flaps his chicken wing arms to stay afloat above it all, before a new tower reforms and he takes his place at the top again.

The kids disperse and a phone rings. Ethan moves to pick up the handset of a Bakelite phone, although it takes a little while to get to it with the other performers in the way, and we enjoy lovely interactions as he finds a different way around each one before reading a monologue that answers many of our questions as the show begins: he sees the world differently, people see him differently; he leads a different life.

KaleidoscopeFinalsHR-10.jpg

When Ethan was four years old he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (ASD). His mum, Johanna Wharton, wrote a book about his day-to-day life and this show brings to life Chelsea McGuffin’s imagining of those daily experiences.

…Ethan has been poked, prodded, analysed, attended three different schools. He is underweight, hearing impaired and has adult teeth arriving in all directions. Our household has been through screaming, squealing, squeezing, bouncing, obsessions, disappearances, sleepless years, diets, hospitals, surgeries and all things unexplainable and unidentifiable. But I do not want to tell those stories. Because between the lines is a little boy who is articulate, eccentric, expressive, engaging and brave.

Through his uniqueness he brings clarity to our complicated lives. He brings joy outside the limits of our routine and revelation that cannot be measured. Through his uniqueness he dispels our walls of safety. One day, I saw him mesmerized by the droplets of water dripping from the tap, and I decided to watch a droplet too… I was taken into his world…silent and magnified. Pure. It is the nature of something beautiful, wild, untamable, inspiring.

The show is a typically eclectic mix: balance acts, a pole act of strength and control to rival some adult performances, and an elegant aerial hoop routine set mysteriously in a corner of long white hanging pieces, which are pulled aside by the performers. Performers’ bodies become the floor for Ethan to walk across. The acts all involve Ethan to some extent. The kids clearly adore him.

KaleidoscopeFinalsHR-3.jpg

This is an amazing ensemble of young circus performers, a tight-knit team who obviously care for one another, and take Ethan under their collective wing. That safe space feels expansive – it’s very hard to stay in our seats and resist running down to jump and play in a mass of feathers, the glorious result of a pillow fight! Pre-recorded footage plays across the scrim, gorgeous, joyous images of the performers pillow fighting and laughing and living in the moment.

As Ethan rides a stationary bicycle centrestage we watch more stunning images, this time a beautifully created paper collage streetscape. The edges of this part of the world are torn and nothing looks quite as perfect as we might imagine – or remember – it to be. The action in front is fast-paced and hilarious, but the imagery has a nostalgic feel. We don’t make the connection between the bicycle and the images until after the show, when McGuffin assures me she will find a way to feature the pedal-powered projector in a future production. The ensemble run and race and leapfrog and tumble to keep up with Ethan on his bike, and take turns to catch up and jump up and strike precarious poses before the segment abruptly comes to an end, as if the director has suddenly shouted, “CUT!”. The kids shrug and smile and move into their next positions.

KaleidoscopeFinalsHR-4.jpg

I love the costumes, which are reversible: simple cotton frocks tied twice (at the back and front), which are flipped, turning the stark white into bright colours and bold patterns. After so much time spent in Ethan’s sphere, how could one not become this colourful?

But one girl wears a dress that is white on both sides – she’s confounded by the lack of colour when it comes time to reverse it – but it’s white for a purpose. We watch as she sits gingerly on the stool and plays the toy piano. It’s pink, and its cute plinks are the chords of the piece we’ve just heard in a musical routine involving a xylophone and eerie wine glasses. The kids paint her so that when she performs her aerial (tissue) act she leaves a rainbow on the fabric. The impact Ethan has on all their lives. The impact any child has on all our lives, but particularly of those who see the world as Ethan does, in tiny fragments of colour, magnified, magnificent.

Under the guidance of Chelsea McGuffin and David Carberry, Flipside and Company 2 have discovered a perfect match of energies, minds and hearts. Kaleidoscope is a heartfelt exploration of seemingly random tiny moments, which exist for all of us, but are noticed by few.

 

Final performances today at 2pm and 7:30pm.

 

 

16
Apr
15

Stories From the Sky

 

Stories From the Sky

Flipside Circus

Judith Wright Centre

April 14 – 18 2015

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

Fresh-faced, fit and FEARLESS!

 

 

Flipside+Circus+-+Stories+from+the+Sky+-+HERO+landscape

 

Flipside Circus is always great holiday entertainment. We love that the performers are young (aged between 11 and 18) and they are indeed, fearless. Stories From the Sky is testament to the solid training and high level of confidence that translates on stage as zero hesitation when it comes to aerial or wheel apparatus tricks, and no concern about tumbling, leaping and climbing all over each other to create an interesting, challenging and entertaining show for the whole family.

 

There’s a sense of discovery; of natural exuberance and simple joy in a Flipside show, making it an ideal first circus show for kids and an enjoyable repeat experience.

 

FLIPSIDE_StoriesFromTheSky_sololeap.jpg

 

Poppy and I often take one of her friends to the circus but we had committed to an airport run right after the performance so this time it was a mama-daughter date. Our homestay student’s flight was delayed so we were able to stay and play after the curtain call before meeting her at the domestic terminal. (She went for a week up north, doing all those lovely touristy things that we forget to do because we live here). Poppy leapt at the opportunity to join other young audience members in the Shopfront to have some fun hula hooping and plate spinning. She’s no stranger to the circus, but unlike the performers we saw in the show, she doesn’t practice the tricks for hours each week! In fact, she probably shows vague discipline three times a year: at Flipside, at Circa and at Woodford Folk Festival! Our philosophy is clearly, “No pressure. Keep it fun.”

 

FLIPSIDE_StoriesFromTheSky_solothrow.jpg

 

The loose thread running through this production is the notion that we all have our own stories and we are each our own story. Each performer has their story, which they share with us at various intervals throughout the show. A microphone descends from above and there is opportunity for comedy as it is raised and lowered and the kids contort their bodies to speak into it. The stories are simple and lovely and funny, and it’s good to hear confident, natural voices. It’s easy to forget that our bodies and voices are connected!

 

FLIPSIDE_StoriesFromTheSky_solofly.jpg

 

 

don't forget to play

Before the show we were given the opportunity to fold paper airplanes, which we were told we would need during the performance. When the time came I heard kids who didn’t want to give up their planes, and kids who wanted to run down to the stage and retrieve their planes. Poppy proudly launched hers and laughed when it twirled and turned back to us, landing in the lap of a mum sitting in the row in front. Tonight we’re off to see Matthew Ryan’s new play, Brisbane. (Another mama-daughter date to coincide with the adventures of #niciinthecity). Watching Stories From the Sky I thought of the hero shot for Brisbane; Dash Kruck gleefully “flying” a wooden plane and of the playwright’s note, “We all want back what is lost.” (You can read the program online thanks to QTC’s greenification of the company’s operations). It strikes me that Stories From the Sky is a gentle reminder that it doesn’t take much to get back a bit of what is lost.

 

 

 

FLIPSIDE_StoriesFromTheSky_soloflip.jpg

 

I love the joy of the duo work and the strength and trust of the ensemble work. The tissu is (once again) Poppy’s favourite act, and we are both blown away by the balance, focus, power and promise of vibrant fifteen-year-old gymnast/contortionist/aerialist, Riley. What an entertainer! Riley is a wonder and it will be no wonder to see him featured in professional circus in this country. Circus is clearly his THING.

 

FLIPSIDE_StoriesFromTheSky_group.jpg

 

Cirque du Soleil is renowned for offering exquisite art, athleticism and escapism at an elite level but it’s from within the ranks of dedicated companies such as Flipside that it begins.

 

Flipside Circus offers full training and school holiday workshops just for fun. The Performance Program offers 8 – 18 year olds the chance to develop advanced circus skills and perform in the annual production.

 

Stories From the Sky must finish Saturday. Book here.

 

12
Apr
14

CircUS

 

CircUS

Flipside Circus

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

April 9 – 12 2014

 

Reviewed by Poppy Eponine

 

Flipside+2014+hero

 

Before we even got to the theatre, Aroha had to do some acrobatics to get into a tricky car park. We (sensibly) ran across the road to make the show on time and (carefully) raced up the steps to find four seats together in the top row of the tiered seating. We had very good luck all day. We could see everything. EVERYTHING!

 

This is a circus show of a different kind, without animals, fancy costumes or a Ringmaster, but with extremely talented kids of various ages, who clearly love what they do. What they do, for 60 minutes without an interval, is tumble – forwards and backwards – stand on the shoulders of their friends, hang and twist and twirl on ropes and hoops and swings, leap over each other and jump giant red flags, juggle yellow squishy balls, and keep five plates spinning.

 

I just have to put in, not wanting to spoil the show if you’re going to see it, but do you want me to tell you just one little bit of an actual act? There is a really funny, circus performer. He started off singing along with some music and the other performers kept putting more and more shirts on him. This is something that made me think of my cousin because no matter what happens, even if somebody sits down in the seat that Oscar wants, he just keeps doing what he’s doing, in this case, singing. In this way the little boy was like a clown at the circus and some people laughed and some people didn’t. Maybe they didn’t get it. I screamed with laughter. I got it.

 

Even though the costumes weren’t fancy, they were funny and just good for the acts with big, beautiful, colourful flowers on most of them. One girl wore a bathing cap of flowers. No one wore shoes. Barefoot is better for circus.

 

flipside

 

The performers are really brave. They take awesome risks, physical risks, and surprised us by climbing over each other. The smallest kids climbed up onto the tallest kids. Sometimes this was to get to the equipment above their heads. Sometimes they just jumped on each other for fun and games. By climbing and balancing, the whole cast of kids create a very fun-looking and extraordinary wall. Mum says they’ll remember they did that and use that extraordinary shape in physical theatre one day at school!

 

The music changed only once. I don’t mean they play just one song – there are lots of songs – but the music suddenly becomes dangerous and an older girl swings on the high rope with a safety rope attached to her belt, and she looks quite groovy. There was a lot of clapping and screaming because her act was so risky.

 

I loved the fun and games in the foyer afterwards. There were: hoops, spinning plates, devil sticks and soft juggling balls. This meant that the show could go on for us and we stayed until no one else who had seen the show was still there. Amanda asked if Flipside gets the Poppy Seal of Approval and yes! Definitely! It was the most awesome, spectacular and amazing circus we’ve seen this year.

 

Flipside teaches other kids too. You can do their classes and holiday workshops at their studio. Even kids who don’t normally do circus – anyone can do it! Because I’m on the Sunshine Coast I’m doing a different class next week here but if you’re in Brisbane you should definitely check out Flipside for your kids. They will love it! And they will love this show! But two shows sold out and the last one is tonight so see here if there are any tickets left for you.