Circus meets improvisation meets game play. A Game of Circus is not your typical circus show – instead, it invites the whole family to interact and take charge in directing the playful game segues.
Made up of an ensemble of five from Outside The Lines Circus, all with expert training in either acrobatics, circus games, object manipulation, and more, Jonathan Dragt, Iri Roche, Alyssa Barbieri, Jordan ‘Biggie’ Stephens, and Stephanie Benson combine forces to showcase their unique skill sets while continually redefining game rules and direction by doing what they feel like in given moments during the game play.
With additional guest artists joining in on the fun at every show, the show can evolve into something bigger or unexpected, and becomes even more so as the games become more complex.
Though no two shows are the same, this performance began with a game of tag where the artists use their acrobatic finesse to climb over the audience, which immediately drew in the crowd, and allowed them to participate in the show. The artists continued to pit against each other in most of the games, using simple props and little spoken language to communicate, making it a more enigmatic experience.
Segments worthy of mention were guest artist, Andy Trudgian, contact-juggling crystal balls; an amusing role play of a Western stand-off involving measuring tapes and the overuse of grapes got the crowd laughing; and there was plenty of interest from the audience in directing the artists into increasingly difficult acrobatic formations with a simple ‘yes or no’ game. But the clear favourite was when Jordan ‘Biggie’ Stephens got ten young volunteers to agree to an impressive display of physical strength with a barbell platform.
There were times where it was unclear whether the artists themselves were confident in their improvised approaches, and this seemed to curb the flow of the show somewhat. This is easy to overlook, however, thanks to their ability to incorporate fumbles, and to continue building their antics into the show.
With a little more gusto and theatrics, A Game of Circus could be a favourite for the whole family. This 50-minute show will get the little ones involved in spontaneous and interactive circus games. It’s a show that keeps us guessing for what’s lined up next, and we look forward to seeing more.
Reviewed performance: Sunday 16 February