Bam! Warehouse Circus directed by Jeremy Davies, Pablo Latona and Kylie O'Keeffe. The Street Theatre, September 29 - October 8, 2005, 8pm. Bookings: 6247 1223.
Joyous celebration - that's the only way to describe Bam!
When I was 10 I loved balancing sticks and twirling ropes, and even made my own stilts. I just wish there had been a Warehouse Circus handy. I would have learned to juggle and uni-cycle, though I doubt I would ever have become as adept at tumbling as this Warehouse team.
But I hope I would have learned the tremendous sense of community and humour which oozes out of these young people. I last reviewed their work 3 years ago, enthusiastically, when original member Skye Morton had returned, after a professional performing career, to direct. Now, the 3 artistic directors, all Warehouse trained, are following through a commitment to the younger members - and the development shows.
Bam! is a nicely structured show, using music (and other sound effects) largely attributable to Pablo Latona, to underpin the action. O'Keeffe's set design (Skye Morton is now responsible for "rigging" and "lugging") and lighting by Chris Neal turn movement sequences into small dramas an extra step beyond the immediate tension of successfully demonstrating a physical skill. Much of the show is dance rather than gymnastics, but not the cold kind of competition in showing off skills which we see in the Olympics.
Warehouse have created original music and use circus-style movement to open up our emotional responses, especially in a scene using 4 black boxes, each inhabited by a young woman. All are dressed the same, contortions - in slow motion - are in unison, but slight differences in action create individuality despite apparent conformity.
The result is a show in the tradition of modern Australian circus - think of Circus Oz - melding music, action, humour and theatrical design in a quite original way. The mood is often underplayed, almost contemplative, rather than bold and brassy like traditional circus, and the effect is to draw the audience in to feeling at one with the performers. The first night crowd showed themselves warmly appreciative in the finale and curtain-call. This was community - Canberra's soul - in action.
Warehouse Circus provides training and performance opportunities for young people aged 8-25 years. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Tel: 6287 3968 Mobile: 0415 357 859).
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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