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Landscape With Monsters

Circa and Merrigong Theatre Company Co-Production, LANDSCAPE WITH MONSTERS, by Circa, created by Yaron Lifschitz and The Circa Ensemble, in the Illawara Arts Centre, Wollongong. 23rd September.

LANDSCAPE WITH MONSTERS is a new circus-theatre work from the Circa Ensemble under the Direction of Yaron Lifschitz. It is a Brisbane based company.

In the publicity blurb we are told:

LANDSCAPE WITH MONSTERS tells the story of post-industrial cities now in decay. Metal and wooden objects intersect with fast-paced aerobatics. This intense physical new show is at once humorous and brutal, savage and beautiful.

This is my first ‘meeting’ with Circa and it is certainly an intense and expert display of gymnastic and acrobatic skills engaged with a set of seven wooden boxes, later a 24 foot metal ladder and metal balance platform. It is all performed in front of a colourful Audio-visual Design of a night burning from a set of industrial chimney across a wall of screens (Lighting and AV Design by Toby Knyvett).

This is circus as theatre with an emphasis on the extraordinary skill and invention of the artists. This circus is costumed with not a skerrick of burlesque sexuality or nakedness, all seven of the artists – 3 women and 4 men – costumed discreetly, by Libby McDonnell, in greys, with just a hint of the effort of this extraordinary troupe of actors indicated by a progressive and spreading sweat pattern on the t-shirts.

The politics of this show telling a story of a decaying industrial city is really ‘wishful thinking’ on the part of the Director, Yaron Lifschitz, but there is no doubt as to the artistic construction around the skills of the performers, enhanced with a very arresting and culturally ‘nostalgic’ Sound Design by Daryl Wallis (very European in its feel).

In an hour and fifteen minutes one is held suspended into an admiration of the artists and their gifts – a delightful distraction.