Cirque seeing is believing

Cirque O L I O

South Bank Piazza

September 20 – 23

In a Brisbane Festival program anchored by dynamism and optimism, Cirque’s “O L I O” is a perfect school holiday week addition. The world premiere of the family friendly show sees a mixed melting pot of miscellaneous magic, circus, variety and art being presented in the South Bank Piazza.

Though there is nothing new in its acts, their realisation is still astounding especially in its performers’ gravity-defying acrobatic feats which include rapidly spinning from aerial head strap connection and foot fire of a flaming archery arrow while upside down on hand balance stands. Every concept is elevated; partner acrobatic spins occur with each performer is on roller skates and hoop performances become even more impressive as more are added to every limb during a routine, with sound and lighting design adding to the dynamism of each number.

There is no narrative through-line with a range of acts simply taking to the stage to present their physical feats, with dance routine and occasional comedy number punctuation in between. The potpourri approach to its 70-minute curation is perfectly pitched to maintain the awe of younger audience members, who may even find themselves of stage as part of its wonder. Indeed, there is something quite glorious about seeing the joy of children’s experience of live production, especially in response to the simple magic of our emcee (of sorts) clown’s card ticks, ventriloquism and interaction with audience volunteers.

While it is pitched as family entertainment, however, “O L I O” also serves as reminder that magic really is for all ages, especially as things finish up with a lovely shadow puppet reminder of the idea at the centre of Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’. For a family show with the simple purpose to amaze, astonish and transport audiences, it both a lovely summation of its sentiment and the perfect conclusion to its variety of entertainment.

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