Review

Bright young performers delight

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Fringe World review: CircusWA – Sliders Youth Troupe, Cutting Teeth ·
The Big Top at The Woodside Pleasure Garden, 31 January ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

Your late teens and early twenties are a massive time for self-discovery. Just as you have successfully negotiated high school, the whole world is waiting to confound you once again. It may be tumultuous but, simultaneously, it’s a wonderful, free time. This time of life is the subject of CircusWA’s Fringe World show Cutting Teeth, directed by Natano Fa’anana and Rachel Bodenstaff.

The CircusWA school teaches circus skills to children and young adults, and Cutting Teeth is presented by Sliders Youth Troupe, a group of 16-22 year olds who make up the performance arm of the school. The Sliders program is aimed at developing skills and providing a stepping stone to further circus training or performing on the professional circuit. As teenagers and young adults, the themes of Cutting Teeth are very relevant to the young performers themselves.

And the craft of circus lends itself well to a coming of age theme. A juggling act represents juggling the pressures of home, school and friends. Floor and balancing acts both explore young relationships. Struggles on the trapeze reflect the competitive elements of school and entering the workforce. This double act by two young women competing for top spot on the trapeze was a highlight of the show, displaying the pair’s excellent technical skills as well as performance ability. A powerful aerial silks performance and a compelling solo trapeze act also stood out.

Sliders is an amateur troupe, so it’s no surprise that the show doesn’t have a professional polish. Yet the young performers met unexpected hiccups with sophistication beyond their years. There is some filler, but the overall package that Cutting Teeth delivers garners respect and admiration. Each of these performers has a bright future in performance ahead of them, if they choose to follow that path.

Cutting Teeth is an enjoyable hour that’s completely family friendly. Children will delight in seeing other young people on stage and all will appreciate the strength and poise of these teenagers and young adults.

Cutting Teeth plays the Big Top at The Woodside Pleasure Garden until February 3.

Read Seesaw’s Q&A with the directors of the show.

Photography by Jeannette Friesen (2019) @generosity.circus.photography

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