Circus Oz is one of Australia’s best – loved national living treasures. This year, it celebrates forty fabulous years in the entertainment industry.

Since the company’s inception in 1978, Circus Oz has nurtured and refined a unique world – class sophistication. Meanwhile, retaining a home – grown brand of quirky humour for which it is admired and best – known.

Conventional circus presentations tend to focus on each trick or stunt as a stand – alone entity. Much like Cirque Du Soleil, Circus Oz builds each new tour around a different notion or idea instead. It also mirrors that Canadian organisation’s philosophy, of performing free from any animal involvement.

This season’s theme employs an off – beat, yet pertinent environmental message. Precarious centres around The Ministry Of Nature – Seed Management Division. (With this knowledge, it is perhaps no accident that their usual stop at Birrarung Marr by the Yarra River, has been shifted in 2018, to the Royal Botanic Gardens near the Shrine of Remembrance.)

The show’s simple premise follows seven performers (Jon Bonaventura, Tania Cervantes Chamorra, Emily Gare, Tara Silcock, Jake Silvestro, Dylan Singh, and Lachlan Sukroo) and two band – members (Sophia Exiner and Jeremy Hopkins) in hot pursuit of the world’s last plant pod. How they protect it from harm forms the overall viewing experience.

With their catwalk looks and athletic builds, the attractive nine – strong cast hit the ground running. Literally. Thanks to a seventy minute running – time, the swift – moving pace makes Precarious an accessible journey for attention spans of all ages.

Form – fitting costumes (by Laurel Frank), solid wooden props, and elegant set design, are consistent in style and appearance across the board. The production’s look (by Michael Baxter) could be best – described as a modern twist on Edwardian fashion, furniture and architecture. Traditional circus arts such as acrobatics, tumbling, displays of strength, hula hoops twirling, and juggling have been refreshed and reimagined to fit this specific brief as well.

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Thanks to expert stage management (by Cath Carmody) and rigging (by Andrew Dyson), the show’s linear narrative is seamless in construction. That smooth flow is further enhanced by using a key element from one routine, and featuring it in the next. Each playful segment is also a highlight in itself. Outstanding sound, musical direction (by Jeremy Hopkins), and mood lighting (by Maddy Seach) underscore the overall emotional effect.

Nineteen high – energy routines follow each other in quick succession with titles like:

  • Walk The Plank;
  • Ministry Comes To Life;
  • Switchboard;
  • Conveyor Belt;
  • Archive Room;
  • Delivery;
  • Jake’s Hunt;
  • Seed Stuck;
  • Swinging Chinese Pole;
  • Lunch Song;
  • Precarious Emily;
  • Cyr Wheel;
  • Conveyor Belt (Reprise);
  • Tania Slings;
  • Drowning;
  • Line Up;
  • Poopy Hoop; and,
  • Wall Chaos.

Combining comedic mime with breathtaking feats of physical skill, I guarantee the performers will keep viewers’ attention at all times. As my guest for the evening said, ‘They make it look so easy’.

With strong co – direction by Rob Tannion and Kate Fryer, Circus Oz can be congratulated for creating a thrilling showcase for its talented troupe of performers. Precarious is indeed a feast for the senses.

This must – see Melbourne season runs until Sunday, July 15. Catch it while you can.

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