Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
While marketed as part of the Kids at The House season as it is school holidays, this is an enthralling work for all ages.
Opening with a tense Comedie Francaise three bangs of the cane from the Ring Mistress , Circa from Brisbane have developed a dazzling show based on Camille Saint- Saens work.
Devised by director Yaron Lifschitz and a highly talented team including lighting designer Jason Organ and the black and white costuming by Libby McDonnell it combines death defying circus stunts, clowning , dance music, circus humour and a great use of multi-media. The amazing cast appear boneless and are full of exuberant energy. Some of the acrobatics are jaw dropping.
All the animals in the original are included, and more! The adjusted score accompanies and melds with every exciting moment on stage ranging from quirky, unexpected live elements to the floating and rolling sounds that take the audience underwater.
The cast is like a troupe of strolling players in their black and white costumes with ruffled collars. Opening their suitcases they morph into the various animals /sea creatures /insects with figurative fur, feathers and fins.
They become everything from dry, desiccated dinosaur bones, to bats, fish , penguins, kangaroos and assorted other animals. Lets not forget the butterflies!
Throughout there is lots of tumbling, balancing etc. At one point– for the kangaroos– there is a huge very difficult skipping and balancing section and features a Russell Drysdale like illustration in the background. There are also some exquisite aerial acts, hula hooping and more!
In this version the Swan is a male and there are assorted allusions to the traditional ‘’Swan Lake’’. Beautiful use is made of billowing pieces of blue cloth.
Towards the end there is a wonderful sequence with red balloons (lady bugs ?) – several large balloons are floated, passed, caught and tossed through the audience and eventually returned.
In another delightful section the young children loved there is a ‘shark attack’ where the cast as sharks ( or are they dolphins?) dart through the audience ‘kissing ‘them .
Rap and break dancing segments are also included.
Choreographically there are hints of Fosse and ‘Chicago’ as well as Murphy’s ‘Some Rooms ‘. Quincy Grant terrifically blends Camille Saint-Seans’ well known melodies with his own contemporary compositions. Flamenco rhythms as well as cajon, melodica, ukelele, guiro, whistle and didgeridoo are included.
The young children in the audience absolutely loved it and so did the adults accompanying them .
A dazzling ,delightful performance for all over 3 years old .
Running time – just under an hour no interval
Circa’s CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS, part of the Kids at the House program, runs at the Opera House until the 4th October.