Sydney Festival Review: Knee Deep

Casus Circus perform Knee Deep for the Sydney Festival  Photo: Prudence Upton

Casus Circus perform Knee Deep for the Sydney Festival                Photo: Prudence Upton

The new Casus Circus act, Knee Deep, now performing as part of the Sydney Festival in the Famous Spiegeltent, is not your usual circus affair. On the black raised platform the Brisbane foursome – three men, one woman – share a story using their bodies, and several dozen eggs, in astonishing acrobatic displays.

In addition to memorable egg-balancing acts the show shines with well thought out passionate pure physicality as human shapes twist and turn, push and pull, soar and spiral in a dazzling display of what the human body is capable of.

From the outset Knee Deep gets weird with two dozen eggs brought on stage to be walked on. The humble egg remains a constant character throughout the show, giving birth to a whole new circus spectacle.

Knee Deep in the Famous Spiegeltent       Photo: Prudence Upton

Knee Deep in the Famous Spiegeltent Photo: Prudence Upton

A good portion of the show is pure vaudeville with a large dose of slapstick and acrobatics that propel the energy in an explosive mix.

There are many surprises littered throughout, some shocking, such as a four-inch nail being driven into the nose then emphatically finished off with a hammer blow. The audience reaction was very vocal as empathy and imagination both recoiled.

Another cringe-worthy moment was a segment that began innocently enough with a performer using his body as a drum but escalated when the sound of what can only be described as a dislocating pop of the shoulder was added. Eyes began to water at that point.

Other stunts were more artistic with one performer making an origami swan while hanging from the trapeze. There was also intricate and powerful aerial silk work with dramatic drops to the ground.

The musical score is an important element of the performance: a slapstick scene paired with a French love song creates an enjoyable juxtaposition.

There are small pockets of the show that lack energy or become a little repetitive, or when the musical accompaniment doesn’t complement the movement on stage.

The performers are all exceptional, displaying technique, discipline and control with each move. Their seamless transitions and co-ordination are beautiful to watch; especially memorable was the human swing act, an oldie but indisputably still a favourite. And the performers are all devastatingly attractive and sculpted for their art, which only adds to the audience’s appreciation of the show.

Knee Deep has distinguished itself from a simple circus show in a contemporary way by placing the focus fully on the beauty of the human form and how expressive and artistic our bodies can be. It is excellent entertainment for the whole family.

Casus Circus has grown in popularity the world over, receiving stellar reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and winning Best Circus at Festival d’Avignon.

Knee Deep is in the Famous Spiegeltent until January 26. Book online or on 1300 856 876.



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