REVIEW: NICA’s Leap of Faith

Final year students from NICA take a ‘Leap of Faith’, showcasing their efforts, training and finesse, invite you to marvel at their contemporary circus offerings. This is one performance where you can’t simply just sit back at and be passive. You are constantly demanded to put aside what gravity and physics dictates what is possible to the human body, and instead, be immersed into a world of dance, disbelief, and danger. Artistic Director Matthew Jessner, whose most recognizable work is that of Cirque du Soleil, is not foreign to delivering an engaging theatrical performance. As you walk in to take a seat, an overly cheery cleaner sweeps up and down the stairs, giving you that odd wink that they will be back. However before you can discern how their comedic role or relief will unfold, the audience instinctively quiets down as their eyes are cast onto mysterious triangular ascending nets. Without any spoken words, Jessner directs the audience, arousing their curiosity as to what the show could be. One thing is for sure though, the nets are unmistakably moving, breathing, alive. And the show starts. Throughout the show there is clever and strategic use of space, video art, lighting and sound. Projected visuals and backdrops create the illusion of pulling you physically into the stage; whereas deliberate soundscapes from water droplets to children’s laughter to hyperactive rhythms trigger strong emotive responses ranging from tranquility to adrenaline rushes. Furthermore, the combination of it all immerses you deeper still into the magical realm of the circus arts. As the performers number 24 in all, each present their craft, there is an induced sense of fear in the viewer as you take that leap of faith, trusting there will be a non-blood-splattering delivery despite many feats being suspended five meters and more above the ground. It is everything you can imagine about circus and more – hoops, balance, dance, ropes, trapeze, juggling, poles, acrobatics, mime to free fall. Jesser has set out and achieved his claim that the show is all about the “…instinctive moment when it all has to converge and manifest as theatrical action”. If ‘Leap of Faith’ does not leave you walking out gobsmacked which a contagious spring in your step, I don’t know what else would. The bottom line – Elite Elegance; Exceeds Expectations. Words by Sandra Lee ‘Leap of Faith: Circus in Motion’ April 4th – 13th 2013NICA National Circus Centre41 Green St, Prahran  

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