Described to be Japan's Blue Man Group, SIRO-A's Techno Circus comprises the talents of onstage performers Toshinori Abe, Keisuke Kawashima, Yuki Inoue, Atsushi Okumura, along with on-stage visual artist Daichi Norikane and sound engineer Hiroyuki Iwai. Taking their name to the literal sense, SIRO is a Japanese term for something that is white and that is the base that governs the show, with the team holding a series of white boxes, sheets, and placards throughout the different 'acts' ad treating them as a platform for vibrant light beams and projections to hit against it and allow a choreographed yet fairly free-play form of projected shadow puppetry, mime-ing, juggling, dancing, acrobatics, and physical theatre.
Upon walking in to the venue, you see a line of around 30-35 people close to the stage, who are having their photos taken as they are instructed to pose in a certain manner. What progresses over the next 60 minutes is a non-stop show that craftily demonstrates a borderline-OCD level of synchronization of the movements of the four very talented performers to the imagery that adds a colorful sense of life to their otherwise simple costumes and masks. It's all about timing with this show and as demonstrated by the four individuals on stage last night, they seem to have hit the precision right on the mark, even when bouncing between 3D and reality; through their hand movements and the use of minimalistic props that add a level of magic and amusement to the audiences' delight.
The atmosphere of the show is electric - there is so much happening at once and yet, the team of four are able to demand our attention seamlessly through their joyful personalities, their quick-witted (and non-verbal) humor, the stunning kaleidoscope of video-mapping technology, light animation, laser effects and 3D video projection that injects a fun and colorful vibe to their costumes (that are frequently switched up with every 'act'), and their disco-style soundtrack that is bound to get the children and adults alike swaying and dancing in their seats with much ease.
Covering a diverse range of the demographic, we see some much-loved (not to mention nostalgic) callbacks to pop culture references - from Star Wars to Spiderman to the Sound of Music to Alien and (to keep things relevant for the younger audiences) to Frozen. There is also the clever representation of the iconic Mario game, which brought back a ton of memories, thanks to the use of the video game music (with a techno twist, of course!) for his movements, along with the 8-bit animation that, for a moment, almost made you forget that you were watching a show and not controlling the gameplay on your console! Another memorable highlight would have to be the impeccable demonstration of replicating popular logos with just their shadows and funky morph suits to bring a whole new (and far more appealing) meaning to the term 'circus'. There are the core concepts of balance, juggling, mime-ing, ridiculous and silly shenanigans that will undoubtedly tickle your funny bone, .
At the risk of being 'that person' who brings out a meme reference, these guys are definitely living in 3019, where they have revolutionized and created a modern (not to mention unbelievable) spin on a traditional source of entertainment, by basing a majority of their show around a hypnotizing visual aesthetic, a versatile form of techno music, and a level of precision around their ability to manipulate their bodies to fit a paradigm of sorts that would otherwise be deemed unrealistic to, pretty much, blow our minds in the grandest fashion possible. It's a show that will help you switch off temporarily and forget all about your worries, as you tune in to this lovable team of four and watch them take centre-stage with their ability to show you that stepping out of the box (or two) and being exuberant with confidence makes life all the more exciting and sweet!
While there was an 'act' that involved the manipulation of voices from the audience to create a song of some sort that I wasn't hugely a fan of, I admit that I need to give them credit; in terms of putting a series of strange sounds together to a familiar tune that gradually got the audience into the groove! Apart from there, there isn't much to fault in this show - after all, it's fun, it's upbeat, it's got a killer soundtrack, it's got a level of skill that isn't seen on the daily, and it's for everyone (children, adults, and everyone in between)!
There is a low level of audience participation and interactivity, but it's not the kind that would steer you away (like I had feared) - quite the opposite actually. As we find out in the encore of the show, the photos of the audience members taken at the start of the show create something poignant and thought-provoking to watch unfold. While the theme of the show may predominantly resonate with fun and playful tones, there are parts to the show that brings the audience back to reality by expressing the power of being a united front, where a level of unwavering acceptance to people from all walks of life is heavily encouraged, particularly towards the end of the show. It creates a symbolic message of harmonious relationships between human beings, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, or age (to name a few).
Techno Circus by SIRO-A is so much more than a show - it is an immersive "technodelic" experience that enthralls their audiences consistently and progressively over the span of 60 minutes and offers them with a one-of-a-kind source of entertainment that creates an inviting, dramatic, visually pleasing piece of entertainment that evidently takes years to master and perfect. You know the phrase "a picture can tell a thousand words"? That's exactly what SIRO-A has achieved through their show - there is zero dialogue, but their performance that marries the concepts of human formation, techno music, and world-class technology is enough to leave you speechless and wanting more. SIRO-A is renowned for their spectacularly fun performances that combine special effects, mime, dance, puppetry, comedy and high-energy music in a mind-blowing visual feast for the whole family. This is also probably the first time in my life that I felt the pull to explore Japan and learn more about Japanese culture and the friendly nature of the performers during and after the show only made this urge stronger in mind and in heart. I can see why SIRO-A's Techno Circus is likened to the New York Broadway shows - it will keep you at the edge of your seats with their routines that need to be seen to be believed.
Date attended: 19/10/2019
Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★1/2
Techno Circus will be performing at the Dunstan Playhouse in the Adelaide Festival Centre, as part of the annual OzAsia Festival on October 20, 2019 at 2pm. Book your tix to SIRO-A: Techno Circus's final show here.
If you are interested in the story behind their successful show, a link to their Q and A can be foundhere.
With thanks to the Adelaide Festival Centre. Tema was invited as a guest.