Deadly – Circus with Bite.

October 26, 2010 at 2:13 am | Posted in Show Review | Leave a comment
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The other night, I went to see Downstage and Awkward’s joint production of Deadly. Deb Pope revives a work she created and performed 10 years ago.

There isn’t much physical theatre in Wellington, and Deb is clearly building on the momentum/interest created by Adagio. This is a piece for a more mature audience – there is no swearing, but some of the violent interplay between the two performers was a bit disturbing.

Deadly, is short for the Seven Deadly Sins. The performers take us through them, interacting with each other, a swinging trapeze, a static trapeze, and a circus pole.

I liked greed the most: Virginia Molina swings backwards and forwards hanging by the backs of her knees, through a hail of gold leaf; while Rodrigo Osis tries to gather up as much as he can.

The stage is bare; Deb uses light and shadows to frame the various sins.

Not knowling all of the sins, I got lost at times and just admired Osis and Molina’s circus skills. Perhaps, the next production could have a prolog – to introduce the sins in order.

Worth going to see.


Inside Out

March 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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March 6, 2010 by Show_Hanger

I went to Inside Out in the weekend, put on by Sweden’s Cirkus Cirkör (circus troupe), at the Opera House.

Great show, with live music provided by Irya’s Playground (alos from Sweden).

Even though it was on stage, there was a trained goldfish and a flying horse ! – go see it to see how its is done.

The custome written music works well with the journey through life theme of the show, and all of the circus techniques on display was well worked in.

There was great static trapeze act; an amazing juggler; great tumbling; and a man inside a ring.

I haven’t seen juggling of this standard in the flesh; at times: he had 5 clubs in the air; 8-maybe-9 thuds; and 7-maybe-8 rings ! Just a delight to watch his compusre and hand speed.

The man in a roye-cyr, might best be described as a german wheel with only one ring ! Yet doing man of the tricks you do with a two ring wheel. It was a true ring – there were no hand holds. Just incredible.


Weber Brothers Circus – La Jester

May 6, 2008 at 1:21 am | Posted in Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to the Weber Brothers Circus 2008 (touring) show.

May 3, 2008 by

Circus Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

This time, unlike two years ago, there were no workshops for children – no flying trapeze and no tightrope walkers. This time I actually noticed the midway, as I went into the big-top tent: a teacup ride, a stall with rotating clown figure, popcorn-&-hotdog stand and people selling light toys.

The show has a theme: the Black Knight has stolen the laugther from the Kingdom and the Jester is charged by the king to get it back! As the Jester journeys through his quest, we are introduced to the various acts. Only there is a problem: the main act obviously comes from Asian and they never quite get with the theme! Still, while the theme does not go exactly as well as it could, the individal acts weren’t too bad.

I wonder if the Asian troup, when they were training to be circus perfomers, ever thought they would end up on the farside of the world.

I enjoyed boo-ing, along with everyone else, the Black Knight whenever he rode into the arena. The Asians were impressive- tissu, tumbling, double poi, chair balancing, and juggle using the feet. Good to see some traditional juggling – clubs and rings; I was surprised by how entertaining 3 clubs (then 4 then 5) could be – having got use to Cirque-du-Soleil style juggling.

The slapstick sketch harking back to a much early era of Circus acts – four prisoners in stripped garb, a keystone cop character and a character who was a wife of one of the prisoners – made me think twice. It was based around a traditional vaulting box, and everyone vaulting in clever ways, while the chase took place. When family violence is recognised a major issue for society, maybe the violence in the sketch could have been focussed in different ways, but definitely away from the ‘wife’.

The finale was three motocycles riding inside a metal sphere ! The sphere looked like it was three motocycle lengths in diameter. The motocycles did go inverted! I thought the women balancing a a stack of chairs was ‘brave’, but the young women who got into the sphere while two motocycles orbiting took ‘brave’ to another level – The riders had leathers and body armour; she had a bikini !

The show was definitely worth the price of admission.


The Weber Brothers Circus website is good enough to offer two experiences – those with dial-up and those with broadband. The broadband version is very garish!!

Seven Fingers: Traces

March 16, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Show Review | Leave a comment
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After two years, the Seven Fingers circus company returned to Wellington, New Zealand, as part of the Wellington International Festival of the Arts.

Mar 16, 2008 by

Film Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

It was amazing. This seems to be the direction of modern circus: amazing moves woven into dance, the latter all fitting loosely into a theme with appropriate music. These guys danced, sang, played the piano, and did some great acrobats and juggling.

There was a very nice tribute to Fred Astaire – involving skateboards instead of walking canes!

The juggling was low key no showers of 7-9 objects in the air. Instead as people danced about the stage, the chair of basket ball was constantly in motion – just as the ball or chair or person was about to fall to the ground, someone would step up and catch them.

It looked like they could all play the piano and did a solo piece accompanying what every was going on behind them. One of them even sang to the audience, accompanying himself on the guitar!!

The Chinese nolonger have a monoploy on pole aerials. The ‘Fingers’ did some petty amazing stuff. My pick was the vertical back flick from the pole then back to the pole, and the lady who falls from the top to be caught by her companions – amazing body control and trust!

The acrobats was spectacular. My pick was the standing back tucked somersault, from a position of standing on top of someones raised hands back to the same raised hands! There was also a nice slow semi-comic stretch and flexibility solo – by the same woman who fell from the pole.

These guys are worth seeing – everytime.

The only question is: where were the other two fingers ? there were only five performers!


They were so popular, that they opened the ‘Gods’ – the Gallery – in the Opera House. They had to: my session was near full to capacity – well over 1000 people.

Cirque Ici : performance art

March 14, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Posted in Play Review | 2 Comments
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I went to see Cirque Ici at the Arts Festival. I was expecting a modern circus show; I got something quite different – but just as entertaining.

Mar 14, 2008 by

Film Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
New Zealand

This is a one-man play about … a circus performance. What a circus though – there are animals, machines, jugggling, balancing and knife swallowing.

The first Act is the animal tamer, but being a one-man play – there are no animals. Instead there is a series of fur covered geometric shapes that pop open and shut, swallow the animal tamer, and a wire cylinder that splits open and sits up when commaned to ! There is the tubular animal – a 4-meter long metal rod that after bending to the handlers’ will spirals back-and-forth and sits up!

The middle Acts blurred together: counter rotating wheels sharing a common axle, rolling itself with candles across the ciecle; meat cleaver tossing and knife swallowing – at least it seemed that way; a paper falcon; a metal horse with many legs; a human arch; and a tame whirlwind!

The finale was a spiral, made of 2″ by 8″ by 120″ interlocking planks and some rope. The rope was used to stop the planks from popping out, the latest piece was always ‘inserted’ will the performer stood on th end of the previous plank ! By the time he was finished, he was able to hand by his finger tips – and his feet did not touch the ground.

It was fitting that at the other end of Frank Kitts Park stood the Len Lye water sculpture. Surely, if the spirit of the late Len was present he would have approved heartily.

All of the acts looked like they were choreographed by da Vinci for Marceau Marcel- there was a huge amount of science on display in a Renassance kind of way and Johann did not speak at all, though he did make rasping sounds for emphasis.

The horse was an upside down bed of nails, with close 1-metre long nails. It supported Johann’s weight, and it moved across the – round – stage when he rocked backwards and forwards when setted atop of it.

The trained bird that returned to his hand, was a very well folded paper aeroplane!

The human arch was an archway made from a set of encylopedias, with Johann acting as the keystone. The showmanship as he stacked the books was superb – keeping the audience gripped, watching, what might otherwise have been a mundane task.

The whirlwind was just some smoke held captive by four planar blowers.

While I have classified the performance as a one-man play, I might also have classified it as performance art. If my lounge was big enough, and it was for sale, I would have tried to purchase the wooden spiral.


This work – with a commentary -could be presented to school children to educate them about physics.

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