Gasworks Circus Showdown

Gasworks Circus Showdown
Gasworks Arts Park and City of Port Phillip through the Local Festivals Fund. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park. Heats Wednesday, 15th and Thursday 16th and Final Saturday 18th, 2013

Final

Who needs a big top?

None of the performers in the grand final of the Gas works Circus Showdown. They had all applied to be included in the competition, made it through the selection process and a heat and were competing for a development prize worth $6000. They are all seriously skilled up, passionate, committed performers.

Anni Davey and Matt Wilson judged all of the heats and the grand final. They were generous with their praise and hints for better performance. The audience was kept involved by the MC who had the right touch of humour and audience tickling.

The final five acts were Big Foot Little Foot who did clever things in Velcro suits and a robust risley act (one on their back supporting the other doing acrobatic moves). Madhouse Circus did a slapstick version of the tea party from Alice in Wonderland. The A4 Circus Ensemble presented their satisfying blend of dialogue, high ring, tight risley act and foot juggling of umbrellas and mats. Trent Baumann showed off his miming talent and the 9 person Long Answers to Simple Questions presented their generous ensemble piece that includes just about everything.

There were clear indications from the audience of their preferences. The judges concurred and presented first prize to Long Answers and second prize of a gig at the Adelaide Festival to A4 Circus Ensemble. Very, very satisfying!

Heats

Spectacular, seriously skilled and sensational circus competition.

What could be more entertaining than eight teams with seriously honed circus skills competing through two heats and a grand final for a substantial development grant? I can tell you. Add two experienced, engaged and thoughtful judges who actually want to contribute to the performers, some excellent sound and lighting and a slightly muddley MC.

The groups competing in the first round were A4 Circus Ensemble, Elena Kirschbaum, Solid State Circus and Long Answers to Simple Questions. There were tumbles, leaps, balancing, juggling- hand, foot and chainsaw, a trapeze or two, a unicycle, hula hoops, laughter and in an exquisitely crafted piece by Long Answers, tears. All of the performers demonstrated skills only acquired by hard work, commitment and the spirit of circus that is all daring do, courage and joy.

The judges, Anni Davey and Matt Wilson, who both have impeccable credentials in circus and physical theatre brought enthusiasm and grace to the evening. The lighting by Michele Domonkos unobtrusively supported the competitors and the sound operator Masato Higgs provided the sound background appropriately and on cue.

The MC managed to hold the evening together despite being a circus novice. Her clear desire to do well, be supportive and not to claim all of the limelight helped to set the tone of the evening. And a rip roaring evening it was. Anyone who loves any kind of performance should get along.

Ruth Richter

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