Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus (Circa)
QPAC, Cremorne Theatre
January 7 – 18
Circa’s family-friendly show, “Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus” is a stunning display of daredevil acrobatic artistry set to the dramatic tunes of Mozart, making it a wonderful way to introduce children to the composer’s music come to life.
The family show with an energetic circus twist starts slowly with a lonely birthday girl (Kathryn O’Keeffe) who conjures Mozart (real-life husband Paul O’Keeffe), and a live accordionist (Gareth Chin) from her refrigerator by putting on her favourite of the classical composer’s records. Despite his period costume attire and wig, Wolfgang is soon stretching, lifting and tumbling about with the girl, before departing from the fantasy. A quick record flip and he is back for us to hear and see more (much more) of him as he sets to entertain with ‘don’t try this at home’ bicycle tricks and farcical antics. There is then juggling, creative play with the show’s spotlight and a very funny slow-motion fight scene; it’s mayhem that the youngest children and adults alike all love.
As the cheeky and eccentric musical prodigy, Paul O’Keeffe provides most of the laughs through his mischievous animated expressions, silly but genuinely-funny slapstick antics and over-the-top man-child tantrum reactions to prop malfunctions. As expected in a Circa show, both of the performers are physically strong artists, as evidenced by their balancing and hand-to-hand routines and it is especially impressive to see Katherine O’Keeffe serve as the anchor in so many of these. Together they present some truly impressive stunts tumbling and jumping over and atop each other and do well to hold the attention of an audience of children.
While the on-stage comedy routine antics and snippets of audience involvement provide playful laughs and a feeling of fun, it is the show’s reinvention of Mozart’s magical music that sets it apart from others. Movement is perfectly timed to its accompanying, bringing it to such life as to inspire little ones to hum Mozart’s ‘Little Night Music’, as they are heading off afterwards.
Of course you don’t need to be a youngster, to appreciate the refreshing concept behind this whimsical journey, or the skills of its physical theatre performers. And this is what makes “Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus” another of the renowned international circus company’s special successes.