An immensely enjoyable show featuring tomorrows circus stars
The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) opened the 2015 Circus Showcase Last Orders! last night, which sees this year's student graduates perform their carefully tuned skills to a public audience.
Having completed Australia's only Bachelor of Circus Arts over a three year period, each NICA student carefully masters the art of one or more particular circus skill, and then puts together an act to present their ability in the annual themed NICA showcase, this year being Last Orders!
The overall theme of Last Orders! embraces the behaviours associated with being a 1930's upper-class Parisian waiter. The ensemble appears throughout the show in waiter character prior to each act. As far as waiter antics go, Steven Finnigan hilariously captures the audience as he flamboyantly takes to the stage with an un-lit cigarette and unamused lipsticked grimace; he is funny!
As the group of waiters go about their evening activities backstage, each performer arrives back to NICA's intimate theatre space to present their individual skill, with each act quite different to the next.
Corie Hurry performs his chair balancing act early on in the show, and quite literally has the audience on the edge of their seats as he gracefully builds each chair higher all the while maintaining a theatrical doleful face.
Simone Sallé's individual specialty according to the program is Clowning, and she takes to the role brilliantly, bouncing around the theatre in a humongous blow up suit leaving a trail of popcorn in her wake.
Madeline Robbins, the chatterbox hula hooper, entertains the audience with her random facts about the human brain and body, followed by Alex Jean's outstanding multi-cord.
Erin Murphy's runs across the stage and powers onto the Chinese pole then courageously flips and twists with ease, followed by Mark Graham's robust handstand performance dressed as a Harlequin.
Adam O'Connor-McMahon performs a mournful yet dignified juggling act using the handle of an umbrella to catch clubs as they propel into the air, followed by Callan Beacroft's showing off his strength in the Aeriel hoop.
The second half brings Keely Tyler-Dowd to the Tightwire, and Steph Mouat's simple yet intensely powerful handstand act, followed by Miriam Cawley's Aeriel performance and Steve Finnegan's tremendously long legs stretch the Aeriel hoop.
The combined strength of Maggie Fayne and Marty Evans perform the contemporary themed Adagio (acrobalance) without a flinch which is simply breathtaking to watch, followed by Elke Uhd's awe-inspiring trapeze act.
Before the finale, Jillibalu Riley, originally from Far North Queensland shows the audience how Aerial Straps can be done, performing to the live sounds of the didgeridoo; a sincere nod to the Indigenous people of our land.
Of all NICA's performances I have seen to date, Last Orders! has to be my favourite for many reasons; the variety of music, the costumes, lighting and stage setting all combine to make for an immensely enjoyable show for everyone. Laughs are plentiful, emotions are raw, and talent is bountiful.
Each of the 16 stars of the show work well together as a team, yet it is the solo (and duo) performances that really stand out in Last Orders!. Each performer brings forth an individual personality that shines way beyond what you would expect from an entertainer that is relatively new to the circus scene.
Help support the start of an extraordinary journey for 16 talented people about to embark into the quirky world of circus, by booking tickets to NICA's Circus Showcase 2015 - Last Orders!here. The show will run until 20 June, 2015.