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Na Djinang Circus's 'Social Staples' - Review

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We (my wife, myself, our two pure, unadulterated sons), arrived at Gasworks Art Park half an hour early. Our casual conversion, turning to the evening ahead - as in, what the heck I'd actually roped my wife and kids into. To which I, once again, dismissed with, "circus-circus-it's-a-circus". Despite being specifically cautioned by the event organiser that adult themes were occasionally alluded to, plus a little coarse language contained, I'd decided to risk it all. I hesitantly entered the inner city foyer, to find a buzzing soiree of giddy chitchat. No particular age-group (as far as I could tell), nor particular brand of handbag, or dinner jacket. But a nice, diverse miscellany. A delight to behold, plus loud enough to thwart any discussion on the lack of (other) youngsters present. Oh jeepers, what had I done? As my palms began sweating, the entrance bell DONGED. Okay, deep breath now. Upon tentatively wandering into the hmm, fairly normal-looking theatre, even more in the dark...

Social Stapes, Na Djinang Circus
Image courtesy of Aaron Walker

The show began. Oh jeepers, please be good. As I gazed upon my poor, unknowing sons - rosy cheeks, innocent eyes - a handful of brightly costumed 20 something year olds burst onto the stage! Opening scene of...whatever this was, presenting a 'production line' of food cans, relayed with lightning speed from one performer to the next, before culminating into a large stockpile on downstage left - right in front of us. Oh my gosh, what is this? But as quick as my angst had peaked, it began dissipating as I marvelled at the jaw-dropping physicality on display. These zestful, vibrant, dynamic acrobats, breaking into an extravaganza of synchronized leaps, lunges, and balancing acts. Eye-opening feats, interspersed with sombre, yet succinct performances/speeches covering various issues. For instance, 'Fun Facts' - which fired interesting tidbits of information at us, gradually intensifying into one profoundly important message about domestic violence.

Social Stapes, Na Djinang Circus
Image courtesy of Aaron Walker

I was loving this. Albeit, feeling somewhat like a tennis umpire, as my eyeballs darted around the stage, so as to keep track of each superhuman manoeuvre. I didn't wanna miss anything. I was absolutely relishing this fast-paced spectacular. The whole thing, extraordinary - so I'll randomly select a few highlights: one of the well-groomed lads, curling, climbing, sliding down a rope - with absolute ease. A trio of formidable, gravity-defying ladies, providing a fiery performance that stylistically portrayed the plight of a rape victim. Before reuniting as a group, to delight us (as in, the fully engaged audience) with a masterfully constructed, impressively creative ode to indigenous Australians, which cleverly amalgamated Vegemite, feet, and carpet - you'll just have to see it. To say I enjoyed this is an understatement. Not only was I rescued from eternal persecution, but rewarded, even as a parent. How you ask? Because this daring, slightly left-of-centre creation espoused values I treasure: environmental conservation, gender equality, LGBT rights, respecting our indigenous heritage, and a fair go for all. What's more, the inventive, dramatic choreography on display was breathtaking! The timing, balance, strength, stamina, ability to contort oneself into freakish shapes, absolutely consummate, impeccable. I thoroughly recommend Na Djinang Circus's 'Social Staples'. Oh, as for minors? Hmm, up to you.

Social Staples, Na Djinang Circus
Image courtesy of Aaron Walker

Na Djinang Circus are performing at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, 5th to 17th March
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Where: Gasworks Theatre
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