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Wunderage

24 June 2019 | 12:26 pm | Irene Bell

"[A] lovely and breathtaking night of live theatre."

The circus is a place of wonder not because it will make you believe in magic, but because it will make you marvel at the strength and resilience of the human body. 

The circus, as we know it, has been a form of entertainment for some 250 years. While it is, regretfully, an art form that is too easily forgotten in contemporary culture, the mastery of the performers in Wunderage illustrated why the form persists – it’s still completely awe-inspiring to see people use their bodies and gravity in this way. 

The feats and stunts performed in Circus Oz’s collaboration with Company 2, Wunderage, were like something out of a child’s imagination. There were acrobats jumping and flying through the air, climbing poles held by strongmen with fantastic facial hair, and elegant women in sequinned high heels walking the tightrope. What a spectacular thing to see your childhood dreams come to life – with all the colours, costumes and optimism. 

Put on at Melbourne’s Meat Market, it was the perfect place to create a sense of old-timey spectacle. This show will not have you sitting around a circular stage – here you are invited to walk around, interacting with the space and the performance. Before the show, upon entering Meat Market, you may feel overwhelmed by the 360-degree nature of the set and try to figure out where best to stand. Not to worry – the performers will move you, guiding you to the best view of each act and you will never be in one spot for too long. This inspired more investment from the audience – we got to stand close and cheer the performers on as they completed their feats.

The technical elements of the show were equally as important in creating the atmosphere. The live music from Bonnie Stewart and Grant Arthur transformed each act, changing the mood and leading the audience’s emotional reaction. The lighting was also a guide, both in where to look and how to view. The spectacular solo aerial performance, with just a spotlight shining from the side, was a thing of beauty and dazzling to watch both for the physical feats and the mesmerising aesthetic. 

Directors Chelsea McGuffin from Company 2 and Rob Tannion from Circus Oz have fashioned a lovely and breathtaking night of live theatre. 

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