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REVIEW: Landscape with Monsters by Circa

Tonight we were captivated with something almost undefinable. Not quite dance, more than what we have come to know as ‘circus’ but most certainly art, the story of Landscape with Monsters takes us on a journey of movement through a seemingly apocalyptic parallel universe where cities are in ruins and the human condition is laid bare.

Landscape with Monsters comes to us by well renowned Australian group Circa who, in collaboration with Yaron Lifschitz, have delighted local and international audiences with their heart stopping circus theatre for the past 13 years.

Ooo’s and Ahh’s could be heard from the crowd as the performers embarked on their journey. Their animalistic parkour style and fluidity of movement stood out against the hard industrial backdrop and whilst we were sitting on the edge of our seats, the artists were teetering on the edge of their apparatus, always dancing between safety and danger.

The sheer strength and flexibility of the performers was mesmerising. Not only could they hold their own weight in the most awkward and daring positions, they could hold each other’s weight as well, using balance and opposing force to exhibit their many amazing talents which only served to enhance the complexity of the choreography.

Seemingly simplistic sets and props were all of a sudden unique and innovative. A series of different sized wooden boxes were used to climb on, in and around in unimaginable ways; a ladder became an acrobatic battleground, and a ballet dancer on pointe climbed higher than we dared look. The intermittent humour was certainly not lost on the crowd with slapstick and situational comedy bringing relief to the sometimes heavy and foreboding imagery. And all the while the accompanying music went from suspenseful instrumentals to heavy electronica to jazz standards sung in a Scandinavian accent and back again.

An enthralling performance and an obvious joy to the audience as people engaged about their favourite spellbinding moments after the show. We hope that Circa will dazzle Newcastle with its presence again in the near future.

Written by Amber Curby