Isabelle Oderberg  |  Artshub  |  Monday 15th December, 2014

Circus Oz travels to the more ‘adult’ side of town with an almost burlesque tone and requisite touches of nudity and flamboyance.

Circus Oz travels to the more ‘adult’ side of town, with its new show, Close To The Bone at the beautiful Melba Spiegeltent in Collingwood.

The first act sets a decidedly cabaret tone to the show, with the performers slightly seedy in black with lots of fishnet and heavy eye makeup, performing as an ensemble band.

The feel of the show fits the beautiful Melba Spiegeltent perfectly, with an almost burlesque tone and requisite touches of humour, nudity and flamboyance.

As the program proudly proclaims, the show was thrown together in less than three weeks. We can only hope that some of the less polished elements and small errors can be put down to the race to the stage or even perhaps opening night nerves.

But overall this was a fun and entertaining show. Performers all doubled as members of the band and there were a range of circus arts on show, including Chinese pole, hula hoops, juggling, creative percussion, a tower of balancing chairs, aerial ring, a daring unicycle act and some musical comedy.

Probably the highlight of the entire performance was the clowning by Lilikoi Kaos, whose hilariously expressive facial expressions won some genuine belly-laughs.

There was only one sour note, which was a Christmas Carol that touched on the theme of domestic violence. It felt completely out of place in the frivolity of the show and bore no connection to the preceding or following acts. If Circus Oz wants to venture to the dark side to poke and prod at serious issues of the day more power to them, but the act itself didn’t seem to fit in anywhere and ended up as a jarring note in the otherwise enjoyable and seamlessly flowing show.

Children sitting in the audience were warned by staff that the show does include some nudity and adult themes, but the 10-year old I was sitting with wasn’t the least bit concerned about the very short display of male nudity – in fact she enjoyed the entire show thoroughly, as did the grown-ups.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Circus Oz: Close To The Bone
The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood
11-21 December

Image: Lilikoi Kaos and Circus Oz band. Photo by Rob Blackburn  [via Arts Hub]