Having a ball and learning

12 October 2019

AWESOME Review: Maxima Circus, CATCH! ⋅
PICA Performance Space, 9 October  ⋅
Review by David Zampatti ⋅

As you might have guessed, CATCH! is about all the things kids can do with balls (okay, okay, it could have been about fishing too – but it wasn’t).

Throw, kick, drop, juggle, hit, roll, sit on (if it’s big enough), mark, head, or even deflate.

But, in the world of the playground, balls can mean other things. You can take your ball and go home if you’re angry. You can sit on the sidelines while other kids play with them if you’re not able to connect.

Come to think of it, balls can mean a lot when you’re growing up, and teach you a lot about other games people play.

Writer and director Sally Richardson and her young performers at Maxima Circus have thought about it, and the result is a quirky little show that is as much about loneliness and acceptance than the games kids play.

The acrobatic work from the troupe (puppeteer Yvan Karlsson, dancer Isabella Stone and outstanding – and strong– circus performer Karla Scott) is neat and enjoyable. Richardson organises business effectively, and Joe Lui’s lighting and sound are as polished as we’ve come to expect from this remarkable and adaptable theatre maker.

And the addition of the experienced and emotionally charged actor Ella Hetherington as the girl on the outer gives the performance its bite.

CATCH! may not reach the heights of Tetris, the outstanding show from the Netherlands that has been an Awesome highlight this week, but that’s a very lofty bar to jump.

It is, however, a clever, thoughtful and neatly delivered show that has a point to make, and makes it well.

CATCH!’s public season has finished by the schools’ season runs until October 17.

Caption (left to right): Isabella Stones, Karla Scott (behind), Ella Hetherington and Ivan Karlsson.  Photo: Emma Fishwick

Junior Reviews by Gabriel and Sascha Bott

Gabriel Bott (10)

CATCH! is a funny, fast-paced show based on sport. It is by Maxima Circus, and we saw the show at PICA Performance Space as part of the 2019 Awesome Festival.

The show is directed at ages 3-6, but I’m 10 and I still enjoyed it. It tells the story of four friends, three of which are very good at sport, and one, not so much. The moral is that you need to practise to get better.

My favourite part was when the three sporty performers had gloves on, and they were teaching the non-sporty girl how to catch. After some time spent practising, she could juggle!

Something I didn’t like is how some of the music didn’t fit with what was happening in that moment. For example, in a scene where performers were using tennis rackets to make the shape of birds the music was sad, but I thought it was a happy moment.

Another thing that was good about this show is its humour. It wasn’t just people doing tricks all day. There was a story to it. It also was a very real concept, showing someone using resilience to overcome her fear of trying new things. This actually happens in real life.

Sascha Bott (8)

Today I saw CATCH! by Maxima Circus at PICA Performance space. Presented by the 2019 AWESOME Festival. In the show there were four circus performers who did various tricks with lots of different kinds of balls. They were telling a story about how you need to practise to get better at things you want to do.

My favourite part was when they used tennis rackets as birds and I got to put my hand out and feed one of the pretend birds.

I also liked how a performer got to go on a lady’s shoulders with a football in her hands.

I think they could have put in some talking in because it could have helped us get to know the characters better.

I think this is a good show for children over three.


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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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