Cirque Stratosphere is as much a theatrical event as it is a circus.
Set in the elegance of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, Cirque Stratosphere combines the fun of the circus with some truly jaw-dropping acrobatic and aerial acts. With an elaborate lighting design (Paul Smith), stunning costumes (James Browne) and music (composer and Musical Director Arjan Chawda) with DJ Hikuri Roots, this all combines to create a spectacular space-themed show.
The show opened with some hilarious audience participation, lead by “The Clown” – Salvador Salangsang – and served as a good warm up for the audience. Further comic moments were delivered by “The Host” – Steve Capps (Tape Face). While most of the comedy was at the expense of the audience participants, there was certainly one audience member who turned out to be quite a skilled dancer and had the audience in stitches with his show-stealing moment in the spotlight. At times the comedy routines were a welcome relief to the adrenaline-inducing acts and were interspersed at appropriate intervals through the show.
Circus performers from around the world, delivered their best routines. While the acts weren’t necessarily “new” they were executed with such skill and precision that it would be easy for audiences to underestimate the extraordinary feats they were witnessing.
Whether doing multiple aerial twists, spinning in a hoop, hanging off a pole or tumbling through the air, this team of incredible athletes and performers made it all look way too easy.
Despite sitting at the back of Hamer Hall, the complexity of these performances was evident, leaving me appreciating the true skill involved. On more than one occasion I had to do a double-take to see just how many points of contact Polina Volchek actually had with the pole during her routine.
In fact the very occasional “near-miss” that elicited audible gasps from the audience probably helped remind everyone just how difficult – and dangerous – these tricks are to actually perform.
No doubt each audience member had their own favourite routine, but there were certainly moments when audible gasps and comments of “you’ve got to be kidding me!” were heard over the energetic music accompanying the routines.
Nicolas-Yang Wang and Shengpeng Nie, in their hoop diving act, Submergence, were certainly crowd favourites, exuding charm and charisma before their final trick, which had the audience gasping with delight.
But it was probably the seemingly death-defying routine by Roy Miller and Luis Gerardo, The Flyers Valencia, on the wheel of death, that had the audience on their edge of their seats, particularly when a blindfold was added to an already terrifying routine!
Cirque Stratosphere is a good mix of heart-stopping, adrenaline-inducing feats and light hearted fun that will appeal to the whole family.
Cirque Stratosphere is now playing at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne.