A group of circus performers manipulating a large sheet of plastic
Circus, Fringe World, News, Reviews

Tackling plastic through acrobatics

Kinetica, 450 Years ·
Big Top at The Woodside Pleasure Garden, 13 February ·
Review by Robert Housley ·

Some scary numbers are linked to the incredible amount of time it takes for plastic to break down in the environment.

Perth circus school Kinetica has chosen 450 Years for the title of its 2019 Fringe World show to emphasise the point. It is an estimation of the time it takes for a plastic cup, or bottle (depending on your source), to decompose.

It’s a sobering figure, as is the disturbing claim in the show blurb that “two million plastic bags are used worldwide every minute”.

In 450 Years, Kinetica “imagines a future world where plastic pollution has taken over and rules our everyday existence”.

Consequently, myriad forms of plastic appear throughout the work,  as props, costumes, hair ties, belts and environmental debris. The 10-member troupe – two males and eight females – navigate the challenges of working with the material, which is either integral to, or in the midst of, its 10-plus routines.

Playfulness and humour are also integrated into several of the acts, starting with an acrobatic routine in which plastic bags are juggled while an animated male performer dances to the first of many upbeat tunes.

The hula hoop features in another routine, with the apparatus utilised in perpetual motion whilst a female performer creatively manoeuvres it in and out of all four limbs. Her single foot work while upside-down is gravity-defying. The entire troupe emerges from backstage at the conclusion of her solo, to form a conga line with hula hoops that culminates in a visually stunning human pyramid.

A “bottle-crushing” contortionist shows us how to reduce the size of plastic bottles using numerous body parts while balancing atop a 1.5m wooden table… not a level of versatility required when recycling them at home.

The larger part of the show is dedicated to aerial acts, though a few too many for the overall balance of the 50-minute work. Different airborne apparatus – a corner-hung large cube, silks, a lyra (suspended hoop), straps and a net – ensure, however, that there is sufficient aerial variety to maintain audience attention.

Striking sculptured poses in mid-air is no mean feat, and the standard of these routines is uniformly high.

While environmental awareness is an admirable theme – and there are moments when it is manifest in this work – realising it with circus skills is a challenge that isn’t quite met.

Nonetheless, 450 Years is an accomplished effort.

450 years shows at the Big Top until February 17.

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Syncope
Calendar, Circus, Fringe World, Performing arts

Circus: Syncope

7 – 9 February @ St George’s Cathedral ·
Presented by Kinetica ·

A pause; a failure of a heart’s action; unconsciousness… From the winners of the 2017 Fringe World Circus Award and nominated for the prestigious 2018 Fringe World Martin Sims Award, Syncope explores the anatomy and physiology of the human body and consciousness through an intriguing cocktail of aerials, acrobatics and performance art. How do we know that we’re awake? How do emotions affect our body? A visceral experience that is as thought-provoking as it is heart-stopping.

This show sold out in 2018, so book now for this unmissable and critically acclaimed event performed within the stunning Gothic architecture of St George’s Cathedral.

More info:
www.facebook.com/StGeorgesDanceAndTheatre/

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syncope
Circus, News, Performing arts, Reviews

An elegant machine

Fringe World review: Syncope by Kinetica ·
St Georges Cathedral, 30 January ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Syncope
‘Syncope’ demonstrates the capabilities of the human body as an elegant machine. Photo: Rebecca McMahon

Syncope is an enjoyable mix of contemporary circus and contemporary dance designed specifically to be performed within St George’s Cathedral.

Entering through the main doors of the cathedral, the audience is immediately struck by the incongruous tripod of scaffolding within the ornate Gothic Revival style architecture – a clear indication that a different set of rituals will be observed by Syncope in this religious space. Indeed, this show marks the first time aerial artists have ever performed within the cathedral.

The stars of the show are ten talented artists from professional performance troupe Kinetica, a local circus and performing arts company behind previous Fringe World shows Interplay (2017), Dark Matter (2016) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015). Within Syncope, their aerial stunts are linked by loosely themed acrobatic interludes exploring the relationship between emotions and physiology.

As a whole, Syncope clearly demonstrates the capabilities of the human body as an elegant machine. This is a good reminder for those of us who can barely balance on one leg – let alone do the splits, upside-down in a handstand, while balancing on top of a pile of similarly contorted human bodies.

In one impressive tableau, two performers float and rotate in seemingly zero gravity while each suspended from the scaffolding by a single wrist. Alternately embracing and pushing away from each other, the performers display a touching tenderness and grace while performing this feat of synchronised strength.

Many scenes in Syncope, such as the two artists weaving in and out of a single suspended hoop, prompt the audience to consider both the physical discipline required to make the stunts seem so effortless, and the intimacy involved in rehearsing and perfecting the performances.

The stunning penultimate piece provides an especially symbolic moment within the church; a lone artist writhes up and down his aerial silks with the shadows of his body projecting onto the high walls. In such a unique venue, it would have been great to see the company push such site-specificity a little further.

Unfortunately, there was limited visibility from the back row and a lot of the floor work was lost on those of us furthest from the front. But it was the spectacular aerial tricks that were most anticipated – and those definitely did not disappoint.

‘Syncope’ runs until 3 February 2018.

Top photo: Rebecca McMahon

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