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Cranked Up (Circus Oz) Review

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by Lucy Graham (subscribe)
I'm a Melbourne based freelance writer with a diverse portfolio including performing arts articles and reviews, human interest stories, and social comment. Visit my blog for an overview
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Not your average circus, big-hearted, animal free, hilarious
Circus Oz 2013 - Cranked Up
Australian audiences will be head-over-heels for Circus Oz Photo: Rob Blackburn

Once again Circus Oz is serving up a show that is fun, skilled and artistically engaging. Celebrating its 35th birthday, Australia's best loved circus institution is 'Cranked Up', with a construction site providing inspiration.

Always topical, and with an eye for the quirky and irreverent, the Circus Oz troupe connects warmly with their audience, revelling in banter and good humour.

Cranked Up Ensemble
Cranked Up Ensemble Photo: Rob Blackburn

Here's what I saw.

Seven people riding on a single bicycle. Foot juggling with balls, and a table (yes, a table). Trapeze including one troupe member climbing across two others while suspended in space. Someone disappearing into a common sized esky, and not coming out. Comic rollerskating to make your hair stand on end. A routine called 'toss the girl', in which she most certainly was. Juggling seven items simultaneously. Someone balancing on a board atop five unstable cylinders. Lots of dancing featuring wiggling bottoms. The most ridiculous magic routine you can imagine. A jam-packed big top having a rip-roaring time.

Circus Oz 2013 - Cranked Up
Toss-The-Girl is enough to make any mother worry. Photo: Rob Blackburn

Music plays a particularly strong role in this latest offering, with dualling guitars, a grand piano being played while suspended from the rig, and a mesmerising drum kit akin to a wrecking ball, swinging through tumbling acrobats.

While the first act is disconcertingly chaotic at times, and some of the dialogue rather lengthy, it is not enough to dampen the joy and fun that is palpable.

Circus Oz 2013 - Cranked Up
This is a joyous fun-filled show. Photo: Rob Blackburn

Circus Oz is not a mere circus, but a social justice movement, intent on making a positive difference to those least able to access entertainment. To this end more than 1000 asylum seekers have so far received tickets to their shows, and a project called BLAKflip to engage indigenous performers (three of whom are part of the current troupe) are testament to their commitment to social justice.

circus Oz 2013 - Cranked Up
What are stool legs for? Juggling of course! Photo: Rob Blackburn

The physical ingenuity and artistic integrity of Circus Oz makes it a must see for 2013, wherever you reside in Australia. Look out for them in the following locations:

Melbourne, 19th June - 14th July
Mildura, 14th August
Shepparton, 17 August - 18 August

Northern Territory
Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, 29 July - 9 August
Darwin, Northern Territory, 27th September - 28th September
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 4th October - 5th October

Western Australia
Albany, 24th August
Perth, 29th August - 31st August
Mandurah, 6th September - 7th September
Bunbury, 11th September
Geraldton, 15th September

South Australia
Port Lincoln, 12th October
Port Pirie, 16th October
Whyalla, 19th October
Noarlunga, 23rd October
Renmark, 26th October
Mount Gambier, 30th October

Circus Oz 2013 - Cranked Up
Under The Big Top on Birrarung Marr in Melbourne
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Why? Celebrating an Australian Circus Institution
When: until 30th October
Phone: 0396468899
Where: Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, Arnhemland, Alice Springs, Darwin, Albany, Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Geraldton, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Whyalla, Noarlunga, Renmark, Mount Gambier
Cost: $24-$92
Your Comment
I love this site the info is clear and dates and location is a great help.
by Hazel (score: 0|8) 3636 days ago
The foot juggling sounds spectacular.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12640) 3632 days ago
Thanks for the encouragement Hazel. Cheers!
by Lucy Graham (score: 2|283) 3636 days ago
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