Review by Olivia Ruggiero
Circa’s Peepshow, directed and choregraphed by Yaron Lifschitz, is currently playing at the Theatre Royal in Sydney for a strictly limited run this week before it heads on tour. The show is, in short, a showcase of acrobatic excellence. It is everything a circus show could be and more – a little bit sexy, a little bit funny, a little bit quirky and a whole lot of brilliant.
The luscious red velvet curtain at the Theatre Royal sets the scene beautifully as the audience (which was quite full) take their seats. It’s true, there are few wobbles at the start, the performers shaking with nerves and some small mistakes, but all of this overcome in the first 5 minutes of the show and then they are flying (sometimes quite literally). The quality of this production is displayed not just in its death-defying acts but often its simplicity and playfulness. Small scenes where the performers mirror each other perfectly are filled with cheekiness and humour that has the audience genuinely laughing. Despite the fact there is no cohesive “story” to this production it still enthrals. Thematically it denotes a fascination with the human body and mind. Insightfully articulating how we perceive ourselves and who we are underneath the surface.
This show might not be one for the children, which is quite obvious, when a circus inspired strip tease begins, leaving the performer clad in nothing but her nude, bedazzled underwear, and her co-star cupping her breasts to maintain some modesty. All of sudden we go from circus to burlesque in a seamless transition, but the peculiarity doesn’t end there. The performers crawl down into the audience and choose an audience member to come up and help this woman get dressed. The poor young gentlemen plays the nervous participant convincingly, seeming out of place the whole time he is forced to touch this woman, who not moments ago was walking across the heads of her co-stars in an extraordinary display of balance. When she is finally dressed, they lead him away, only to tear off his shirt just before he exits the stage. And here’s the clincher – he expertly does a one-handed cartwheel before tearing off his own pants and revealing that he was part of the act all along. The audience was none-the-wiser. This trickery is mischievous and awesome.
The aerial silk sequence in Act 1 was a highlight – the caressing of the silks, teasing us, drawing us in before fully entwining with the equipment, suspending in mid-air, and suspending disbelief. The trapeze artist was just as fascinating, as he contorted himself and displayed enormous strength in his craft.
The “Let Me Entertain You” sequence was a whole lot of fun; the performers clad in simple black and white clothing with flashy magenta gloves to complete this phenomenally choregraphed piece.
There’s not a lot to flaw in this Circa show. There were no harnesses or nets for safety – just expertly skilled performers amazing their captive audience. Choregraphed to intoxicate and mesmerize from opening curtain to final bow – they didn’t over use equipment, and the routines felt varied. You could feel the audience not daring to look away as they climbed on each other’s shoulders, three high, and then performed gorgeous lifts and contortionist tricks. A glorious night of entertainment. Don’t miss this spectacle.