David Zampatti | The West Australian | Friday 5th February 2016

Circus act gives hope to all

Rocky Stone and Vincent van Berkel. Picture by Victoria Harrison.


Perhaps There is Hope Left

3.5 stars

The Blue Room

Review: David Zampatti

Intimate circus, solo or duo performances in close proximity to their audience, using simple, abstract apparatus, is a welcome counterpoint to the big narrative constructions like Cirque du Soleil’s extravaganzas, or the hugely popular cabaret/burlesque circuses like La Soiree or Absinthe.

We’ve seen fine examples at recent Fringes: Emma Sergeant’s all-but-perfect Jerk in 2014 and the fine, technical ZWÄI (which, happily, returns to Fringe next week).

Perhaps There is Hope Yet, by the Victorian duo Rocky Stone and Vincent van Berkel, is cut from the same cloth, and brings its audience many of the same pleasures.

And it gives us one thing more. It’s hard to imagine circus in as small a space as the Blue Room’s studio theatre, and the intimacy created is almost a new dimension in itself.

Every effort, every adjustment of balance, every expression of concentration or calculation, is close, clearly revealed and exciting.

For all that, Perhaps There is Hope Yet seems a little too aesthetic, a little too inward. There’s no reason why circus shouldn’t make us think, but was the satisfaction of seeing the first strength and balancing routine, to Laurie Anderson’s signature, O Superman, repeated to the same music with only subtle variations, worth the effort it required or the time it took?

Anderson’s music returns, with the enigmatic Big Top, along with music from Messiaen and Arca, in a music bed as subtle and enigmatic as the action.

Perhaps the best sounds, though, are created by the artists themselves over a bed of deep subterranean gurgles and knocks, like the inside of some faltering old machine inside which Stone and van Berkel perform some incredible feats of balance.

The major apparatus in the show is a huge wooden scoop, the arc of a narrative or the curve of the Earth perhaps, which the performers investigate and test before performing one simple routine that surprises by its singularity as much as its suddenness.

Stone and van Berkel are impressive performers, and the work they do in Perhaps There is Hope Left is very fine. If it left me wanting a little more, and a little more often, it compensated in many ways for the lack.

Perhaps There is Hope Left ends on February 6.

IMAGE CREDIT: via The West Australian

ORIGINAL SOURCE: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/events/a/30747261/circus-act-gives-hope-to-all/