The 19 performers have varying specialities and have the opportunity to demonstrate at least one of those in the show. The names of some of the circus skills displayed in the show are perhaps less well known (at least to an outsider) and in some cases, have had me scrambling to find the definitions.
Company 18 plays until 22nd September 2018
The show commenced with Jordan Hensley performing Diabolo - spinning reels (actually two cups, like small bowls placed base to base with an axle between them) on a string suspended between two hand sticks. The aim is to keep the diabolo (Jordan was using up to three at one time) moving using the strings, sticks and body parts. Sort of like a yoyo on steroids.
After that mesmerising opening, MC Jan van de Stool (seen on Australia's Got Talent) took to the stage to officially introduce the show, bringing her unique humour to the mix.
And so we were treated to no fewer than 10 acts in the first half - a mix of the breathtakingly serious (such as Poppy Fairbairn and Zion Martyn performing their Pointe Adagio - an amazing dance/acrobatic performance culminating in Poppy balancing en pointe on one foot, on Zion's head!) to the far less serious, including the clowning interludes provided by Ciara Thornburn.
Shay Bowskill - humorous context for his unicycle routine
Providing a change of pace was Shay Bowskill, who injected some comedy into his act by entering the stage in a very rustic looking spaceship. Humour soon turned to admiration as he took to the unicycle and showed off his skills.
After a 20 minute interval, we were treated to another nine high-quality acts. Straight up was Karla Scott, with a swinging trapeze act that left me open-mouthed!
Karla Scott - amazing swinging trapeze act
I have seen Zoe Marshall performing before with the Tons of Sense acrobatics collective. Zoe performed her hair-raising 'hair hang' act, in which she is suspended completely by her hair. Demonstrating some amazing versatility, Zoe also twirls carpet squares while performing contortionist acrobatics.
Zoe Marshall performs the hair hang
There were too many wonderful acts to say they necessarily saved the best until last, but certainly, Emily Chilvers' heart-stopping rope act was a standout and a great way to round out the show.
Emily Chilvers on the rope
What I particularly liked about Company 18 is firstly, the variety of acts; second, the energy and passion of the performers; and third, the fact that it wasn't a 'perfect' performance. There were a few small slip-ups along the way, but one of the skills in performing is how quickly the performer corrects them and moves on with the act. In the few small errors I noticed, the performers were always quick to recover. I like the element of rawness and honesty this brings to the performance. It's polished, but not perfect.
A $30 ticket for two hours of spellbinding entertainment has to be good value in anyone's book! So roll up now and buy your tickets - come and see these young performers before they become famous.
Company 18 plays at NICA National Circus Centre, 39-59 Green Street, Prahran, at 7.30pm each night until Saturday 22nd September, plus a matinee at 1.30pm on Saturday 22nd September.
The running time is 140 minutes, including a 20-minute interval. The recommended audience age is 13 plus.
Tickets are full - $30, concession - $23, (family passes available). Click here to buy tickets online.