Model Citizens, the latest Circus Oz production, gave a small but appreciative crowd an unforgettable experience of high energy acrobatic feats and biting social commentary on Wednesday night at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.
My hands were sore at the end of the night due to regularly applauding amazing feats of strength, flexibility and finesse. The show is top class and does not skimp on production values. A live band provides both atmosphere and accompaniment for the circus performers.
The intimate venue adds to the suspense of some of the set pieces because the audience can see the faces of the performer clearly whilst they climb high, swing from ropes and leap and bound across the stage.
Model Citizens features mammoth everyday objects, such as scissors, clothes pegs and credit cards. These provide a perfect foil for the artists to perform on and around.
A large safety pin doubles as a pole on which acrobats perform. A huge clothes peg becomes a springboard for tricks. Over-sized credit cards give a fresh take on the traditional chair balancing act and provide one of many jaw-dropping moments as they build into a high tower which a performer climbs to an impossible height, all without a safety net. When the fragile structure collapses at the end of the act, it provides a metaphor for the dangers of credit cards that I am sure is not lost on the audience.
There are no flat moments in Model Citizens, but there are many high points.
Highlights in this high energy show include the credit card sequence, the twirling hula hoops piece which is impressive for its authority and pizazz. A foot juggler balancing large-scale cocktail umbrellas while lying on her back in a giant Martini glass that prompts loud applause for its display of skill and control. An acrobatic sequence which creates a human pyramid which brings more applause for its show of sheer strength.
The appearance of performers dressed as sheep and sheepdog during the intermission and leading into the beginning of the second set prompt an outbreak of sustained laughter and adds a perfect and unexpected ‘fun’ element to the show.
The songs “I love diversity … just not in my backyard” and “Worship my Weber” are excellent musical counterpoints to the acrobatic performances and show the Circus Oz crew know a thing or two about pacing. The big finish to the show has the entire ensemble crawling, balancing on and leaping from a rope bridge spanning the width of the stage, it brings the house down.
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