Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REVIEW: CLOSE UP- Udderbelly

Udderbelly (Central), Tuesday January 19

This one-hour “circus” show is entitled CLOSE UP. It was then followed with the copy "See. Hear. Feel. Everything." and there was also something about it being a "glorious, chaotic abstraction" and "most intimate show" in the Udderbelly Festival programme. Who wouldn't be intrigued by that? 


Live performances in a theatre can be "close up" up to a certain degree, perhaps if you are in the first few rows. If not however, modern technology can help. In Madonna's Rebel Heart concerts in big arenas, one gets big screens relaying closer view of the on-stage business; or in Puppetry of the Penis in small theatres, one gets a big screen relaying way-too-close view of the origami unfolding (or folding) at the groin of the performers. However, in CLOSE UP, there was a big screen and there were few moments of pre-recorded footages showing close-ups of acts in slow motion. And that's it. Maybe the "close up" in the title was not a literal one. Was it about individual personalities of the four performers coming into focus? Peculiarly, their personalities were way less self-telling than what I have seen in performers of other acrobatic shows.

Apart from the baggage of the title and the marketing copy, this show by Brisbane-based performance company Circa was in fact enjoyable. The four performers managed to showcase some truly amazing acts; a routine on the Chinese pole with nail-biting feats, a woman in back bend position holding up the weight of a man on top of her, some elegantly frightening rope work and a lot of hoops being thrown and hula hooped around. It was wonderful to watch the four performers working tirelessly act after act to keep the momentum of the show flowing. They were so earnest that when they fail and try again, one can't help but root for them to succeed.

Well, at least it was indeed a "glorious, chaotic abstraction".

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