The Wilson’s battled through the Thursday night traffic, with much moaning and groaning from the back seat, to make it to the Big Top at Birrarung Marr in time to see Circus Oz performing ‘Model Citizens’. We were bursting with eagerness to get through the doors. I’m thrilled to report it was absolutely worth the road rage and the 3 little arguments. This was the first Circus Oz performance we have seen, and the first show under it’s new artistic director Rob Tannion. 2017’s spectacle focussed on how to be a ‘Model Citizen’ down under. The show gives us all a glimpse into ‘run of the mill’ life in Australia and what it really takes to be a true model citizen.
The set was every shade of blue you could picture. The entire cast were on stage, dressed in remarkable costumes, like a troop of pre-programmed ‘conformity’ dolls. The show had started and there was no going back. We were hit with acrobatics, aerial swings, front flips, back flips, stunning movements on the silks, sheep running about the stage being chased by a sheep dog. At times it was madness, but we were hooked.
For me, the most fascinating and mind boggling parts of the show had to be both Jarred Dewey’s trapeze act and his ‘contortion irons’. His strength and flexibility were unreal up in the air and when he was creeping around the stage with large steaming irons attached his feet, bending his body like nothing I have ever seen.
Olivia Porters eerie juggling act gave the children the creeps, but was clever and moving. Poppy was mesmerised by the hula hooping goddess that is Freyja Edney, I was just incredibly jealous, and was adamant I was going to get myself a hoop or five. (Still haven’t BTW.)
Luke Ha’s balancing act on top of a tower of credit cards was brave. He stands high above the stage, taking terrifying selfies before tumbling to the ground in a ‘mountain of debt’.
Monty’s favourite performer, Mitch Jones (or the pink man with the tattoo arm… as he is now known) performs a daring mid-air pyjama straitjacket escape, after his nightmare of being trapped in suburbia counting sheep. I could see the children’s eyes like dinner plates, watching as Mitch swung precariously above the audience, desperately wriggling his way to freedom.
Jeremy Hopkins’ “Weber song” (in the tune of Waltzing Matilda), made us laugh and cringe at the same time. His ‘missus’ drinks wine straight from the box wearing nothing but an apron; as he sings “And he sang as he washed off the grease and lit the mozzie coil: who’ll come and worship my Weber with me?” Genius!!!
The kids loved the oversize scissor hoop jumping, the bouncy giant peg, and the matchbox boat which is rowed out of the sky and on to land, by Mitch using two giant matchsticks.
Alex Weibel Weibel is the legend who manages to stay out of trouble whilst spinning madly in a web of tangled ropes, only to hop up on top and play his violin whilst tightrope walking. Mind blown right there.
For the adults, Model Citizens is a mix of incredible strength, clever circus skills, politics, humour and a true show of coming together to make life work. For the children it was more about the fire eating, the trapeze, the high kicks, the juggling, the knife throwing, balancing, handstands, the tattoos, the pink hair, hula hooping, and umpteen people flying through the air at break neck speed in a pair of giant undies. I could hear the children gasping, their eyes shining bright like little light bulbs, mouths wide open like goldfish. Is there anything better than that?
As an expat in Australia, living life precariously on a visa, it was interesting to see the circus take on the idea that in order to become a citizen in the lucky country, you must conform to a certain standard. ‘Shape up or ship out’. Model Citizens is a little political, a little moving, a little terrifying at times, but definitely a whole heap of wonderful.
Both acts are staggering and Model Citizens is definitely ‘edge of your seat’ kind of entertainment. Grab the kids and get over to the Big Top…. Now…..
“Be the ringmaster, it’s your life”- Life is a circus
Our Stars of the show:
Jarred Dewey & Olivia Porter
★★★★★+★ “The best show EVEEEERRRR” Poppy- Head Talent Spotter, The Wilsons of Oz
★★★★★ “I love the pink man, the sheep and the big undies?” Monty – Director of Entertainment, The Wilsons of Oz
All the info:
Show the circus some love:
A Good Time For All.
Circus Oz’s flagship program shares the joy of circus, making a meaningful difference to the lives of many in our community who are facing financial, cultural or societal barriers.
A donation of $120 provides tickets for an entire family to experience Circus Oz under the Big Top.
$45 gives one person the opportunity;
$1,200, a whole community;
and $40,000 will provide free tickets for an entire Big Top audience.
Photo credit Rob Blackburn