“…a joyful love letter to contemporary circus.”
The Stage, UK
Masterful bodies, extraordinary emotion and incredible amazement. Join Circa’s astounding circus performers as they reveal breathtaking acrobatics and aerial spectacles up close and personal. Using the raw skill and humanity of the artists, Closer invites audiences to embark on an exhilarating journey to reveal the extremes and limitations of the human body.
World premiere London, UK 2016
Duration 65 minutes
Touring History the UK, Hong Kong
Tom Wicket Davidson, The Stage, UK “Circa: Closer review at Udderbelly, Southbank Centre – ‘skill and grace’” published April 15, 2016 ★★★★ https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2016/circa-closer-review-at-udderbelly-southbank-centre/
At the Edinburgh Fringe 2015, Circa staged Close Up, a show to pull back the curtain on circus. But from its Calvin Klein-style film inserts to its scripted narration, it sometimes proved distancing. So they took a step back and reworked the premise from the ground up.
Billing it as a premiere isn’t false advertising, because the changes aren’t just cosmetic. With the exception of the two best set-pieces carried over – a hula-hoop extravaganza and nerve-wracking chair-tower gymnastics – the resulting show innovates on many fronts.
Gone are the video screens, replaced by feats capitalising on the intimacy of the purple cow (where the show is playing as part of the Udderbelly Festival). Director Yaron Lifschitz gives us foot-lit rope and stilt acts that have an almost plaintive, silent-movie feel. There’s comedy, as well as skill and grace, here.
If anything jars, it’s a bout of audience-participatory karaoke towards the end. It’s an awkward placeholder that feels like a stage-managed hangover from last year. Closer definitely doesn’t need to strain to keep its audience engaged.
What Circa translates particularly well is the strength of the relationships in successful circus acts. Lisa Goldsworthy and Lauren Herley’s collaborative stilt performance is a standout, succeeding in mixing intense concentration with embrace-like tenderness.
Now, the emphasis is on doing rather than telling. London newcomer Jarred Dewey’s trapeze-hanging mime to Oasis’s Champagne Supernova is a light and lovely thing, fusing clowning and circus. It’s symptomatic of a show that delights in bringing us along with it.
Thomas Davidson, The Upcoming, UK “CIRCA: CLsoer at Udderbelly” published April 17, 2016 ★★★★★http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2016/04/17/circa-closer-at-udderbelly-theatre-review/
Nestled next to the decidedly more severe Southbank Centre, the Udderbelly’s iconic purple cow has returned to London for a 2016 season that is packed with everything from science shows to musical comedy. This year Australian contemporary circus outfit Circa are also returning to the Southbank with their newest show, Closer. Formed in 2004, Circa have consistently awed and stunned audiences with their blend of circus physicality and contemporary dance and, in this regard, Closer doesn’t fail to impress. It’s a tightly choreographed tour de force of acrobatic feats and affecting intensity that barely misses a step.
At first glance, the compact rectangular stage that constitutes the Udderbelly’s performance space doesn’t lend itself to circus; it’s too tight and too narrow for shows that normally see performers sailing through the air or vaulting across open spaces. Director Yaron Lifschitz has worked wonders here, though, and Closer makes excellent use of both the space and a spartan array of circus equipment to deliver a deeply intimate show. Indeed, despite the sheer athleticism on display here, almost all of Closer’s various acts evoke sentiments of love, friendship and family. It’s yet another juxtaposition to be found in the show: of strength and tenderness alongside the sweeping acrobatics that happen within the Udderbelly’s confines.
Irrespective of meaning and symbology however, Closer is first and foremost a circus act, which will live or die on the technical proficiency of its performers. Thankfully, for both Circa and audiences, Closer excels. Throughout the act a quintet of artists continually amaze, be it through aerial dance, balancing acts or feats of strength and acrobatic precision, Closer rarely takes its foot off the pedal. Of particular note are two acts, involving a tower of chairs and freestanding gym blocks that will have audiences on the edge of their seats and cheering wholeheartedly for the performers on stage.
By the end, viewers will have run a whole gamut of emotions (humour, awe and suspense to name a handful), which is testament in itself to the skill on display throughout Closer. Combining tight choreography with stunning physicality, this is not to be missed.
Presented by Underbelly Productions
Director Yaron Lifschitz
Technical Director /Lighting Designer Jason Organ
Stage Design Yaron Lifschitz and Jason Organ
Costume Design Libby McDonnell
Sound Designer Daryl Wallis
International representation (please credit as appropriate)
Paul Tanguay (Worldwide)
David Lieberman / Artists’ Representatives (USA)
Circa acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund.
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