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Madhouse Circus’s Illuminate

Feb 26, 2015

I really wanted to love this show and give it a five-star review; sadly, I just can’t do it.

Illuminate is billed as “an exploration of the way a circus production uses lighting…with fairy lights, torches, and lamps used in ways you’ve never seen before.”  That’s the first problem.

There’s really very little use of lighting – in fact, none at all for a while, due to an unfortunate technical hitch mid-show. Even so, the use of lighting throughout is underwhelming.

If we ignore the unfounded hype about lighting, the show is an enjoyable 50 minutes of basic circus tumbling, acrobatics, juggling and aerial work performed by six young graduates of Melbourne’s Institute of Circus Arts.

The aerial work is by far the most impressive routine of the night, demonstrating superb strength and agility.  And there are a few other good moments: the pole stands were well executed; the Cyr wheel was impressively handled; and the German wheel routine was very smooth.

But most of the show needed much more polish and precision.  On this occasion, Madhouse Circus lacked both technical excellence and performance sparkle.

Illuminate is playing at Gluttony – The Peacock until Sunday, March 1.

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