On By Circa Brisbane Review @ QPAC

'On By Circa' © Pia Johnson
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

To articulate the experience of watching a Circa production, a new vocabulary needs to be devised.

A vocabulary born in the sinew and flesh of animal body, because without fail, while watching any one of their shows, my grasping mind melts into oblivion, while great pores of sensitivity open up within my nerves, senses, skin and breath.

'On By Circa' begins with an empty stage, onto which eight acrobats throw themselves heavily, landing with crashing thuds.

For the next 65 minutes, this extraordinary ensemble explores and expresses the weight and stakes of contact and connection. Their execution is flawless. Careening poetically and unpredictably through complex acrobatic sequences and piercing moments of profound intimacy, 'On' astonishes, enraptures, thrills and moves.

While Circa continued to create, tour and debut new works around the globe in 2020 and 2021, 'On' is the first new production created by the virtuosic Brisbane-based company in a post-non-contact world. In it, Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz wanted to explore our essential need for physical connection, contact and touch.

Uncompromising in his exploration of what is possible in circus, with 'On' Lifschitz has once again rewired the circuitry of the art form. With the absence of traditional circus equipment and aerial routines, 'On' is a bold and beautifully stripped back circus that meditates on relationship, trust, connection and survival. Expansive eruptions of energy, speed and heart-stopping body architecture bleeds into moments of delicacy, slowness and pause. The haunting score by Melbourne composer Jethro Woodward and striking lighting design by Paul Jackson are perfect.

When the curtain fell on 'On'’s finale – an achingly beautiful duet that ricochets between fierceness and tenderness - 65 minutes had felt like 7.

An exceptional piece of theatre performed by masters of their art, 'On' by Circa is a wonder.

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