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Reviews/Circus/Fringe World Festival

Bemusing but beguiling

9 February 2018

Fringe World review: Fisticuffs by Sven Hopla ·
Cirquest, 8 February ·
Review by Suzanne Ingelbrecht ·

A rope hanging from the rafters, a punch bag marked Cassius and a military helmet named Born to Klown and we’re in the set-up for Sven Hopla’s Fisticuffs and some classic bait-the-audience clowning.

Red crabs, the kind that make their annual pilgrimage across deadly Christmas Island roads to mate and spawn on the beach, are thrown into the audience as proof of the tragedy of being a lowly crab. But this isn’t really tragedy, is it? I mean it’s absurd to feel sorry for a crab and its potential demise at the pincers of the crazy yellow ants… isn’t it?

You get the picture. The antics of Hopla to “explain” tragedy (or is it drama?) to his bemused spectators certainly make for “a strange time”. But Fisticuffs has its beguiling moments, particularly when the performer demonstrates his consummate skill as a circus aerial acrobat and performs tricks with the rope that command all his strength and courage.

The audience enjoyed it and so did I, although Hopla might have benefited from a more energised and gung-ho participatory audience on this, his opening night at the Cirquest main space.

Our fault. Not his.

‘Fisticuffs’ plays Cirquest  until 11 February.

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