Having had the pleasure to enjoy quite a few contemporary circus productions at Pontio recently, I knew I was in for an entirely different experience as I took my seat in the theatre for Australian based Casus Circus’ Driftwood.
As a refreshing change I got to see the stage not busily occupied with set and props, but instead rightfully dominated by the production’s five performers – all of whom dominated the stage and captivated the audience from the offset.
The show opened as a true spectacle. The production’s five performers worked as one united piece to showcase a delight of acrobatic tricks and an admirable display of core strength. Captivating the audience of all ages proved to be no trouble either as Pontio’s Theatr Bryn Terfel was soon filled to the brim with ooohs, aaahs and applause.
Personally, these collaborative pieces placed as bookends at the beginning and end of the 60-minute piece were the true highlight of the production. It’s a production that, in the words of Casus themselves, focuses on intimacy and a need for human contact – something certainly proven through their faultless collaborative work.
Individual and paired pieces carried on the spectacle and the story of human contact equally too. The audience was treated to a variety of shorter acts including a touching aerial hoop piece, nail-biting balance acts and a fun and quirky hula hoop act.
With no dialogue within the piece the soundtrack very much helped to shape the production, with a variety of tracks allowing us to easily dip into themes from comedy to romance to sheer wonder.
So, when we were led to the short tying moments of the production’s narrative, where each individual took their turn to do some tricks under a moving lampshade, the complete lack of any music during these pieces simply left me feeling a little awkward.
I assume there was a purpose for these pieces, a reflection of each individual’s character or perhaps a chance to be a little more playful. However, the eerie silence only left me with a heightened awareness of any odd cough or shuffle in the audience and how it simply felt like a chance to fill in some time as the remainder of the cast caught their breath.
Going from the success of the music in other parts to shape the pieces perhaps a light backing track would have been enough to keep the flowing connection within the narrative.
Having said that, it didn’t take away much from the sheer delight that Driftwood turned out to be. Casus sure proved that simplicity can produce a spectacle. Where their narrative may have been human contact, their talent, skill and physical strength was truly superhuman.