Casus is a world-renowned circus troupe founded in Brisbane by three friends. Following the global success of their premiere work 'Knee Deep', Casus have grown both in stature and in numbers with their ensemble now home to 16 performers.
Casus’ enviable reputation has been forged on their ability to combine high-level circus arts with sensitive narratives, and while their mastery of acrobatics has always been impressive it is their desire to frame the physical feats around delicate storylines which have set them apart.
Their latest outing 'You & I' continues this formula, however in this stripped-down performance of just two ensemble members – real-life couple and Casus co-founders, Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay lay open their relationship in a 60-minute show which shines a light on how two men can relate without preconceived ideas of what they should be.
As with most of their shows, the stage is simply set – this time with a bookcase, table, lamps, and chairs. It is the epitome of domestic normality and like all relationships the emotional resonance changes as the bond between the two is explored.
Sometimes moody, sometimes tender, the story unfolds as they move apart, then return to each other in a mirror of most domestic relationships. And while the themes of acceptance and trust are the lynch-pins of this work, their situation is no different than anyone else’s – save the fact that theirs is a gay relationship – and quite frankly, in this day and age, that is hardly remarkable.
For those expecting thrills and spills, or even reasonably high-level circus arts, 'You & I' moves at a snail’s pace with interminably long pauses in between the fairly predictable circus tricks. At several points, the action is reduced to McAulay sitting on the ground whittling or sketching while Scott prepares the stage for his next feat.
Yes, there are hula hoops, handstand canes, the trapeze, the stacking chairs, some basic ‘magic’, along with some sensitive dancing and lots of simple forward rolls, but unfortunately their domestic life is not particularly interesting, nor do their performances evoke sufficient emotional uplift to create any dramatic effect.
Having seen several of Casus’ prior works and been hugely impressed, 'You & I' isn’t representative of their capabilities nor does it showcase their considerable talents as circus performers. Scott and McAulay are capable of sheer brilliance on stage – delivering entrancing performances that manage to convey a range of emotions without speech – but in this show the material simply isn’t strong enough to provide them the opportunity to leave us dazzled.