Circa. Theatre Royal, Sydney. 20-24 April, 2022
Reviewed : 20 April, 2022*
Circa continues to extend circus beyond the ‘big top’. The thrills are still there – the amazing feats, the incredible strength and control – but Circa extends them and turns them into theatre. With this production it goes a little step further because Peepshow, as its name suggests, is just a little bit naughty and even quite cheeky! It’s cabaret on the move … and up in the air!
As well as the advertised “teetering towers of balanced bodies, extreme bending, beguiling burlesque, and devilishly precarious aerials”, Peepshow entertains on multiple planes! Under the direction of Yaron Lifschitz, it combines dance and circus in beguiling theatricality that thrills – and titillates.
Lifschitz, billed as a “circus visionary”, has created a program that ventures into the bizarre extremes of burlesque. He has combined group acrobatics, hand flying, rope, balancing and tumbling, with clowning and contemporary dance, and creatively choreographed them to an eclectic range of music that varies the mood and determines the split edge continuity that is intrinsic to the production.
Discipline and concentration are vital to all performance work, especially circus. When that is combined with developing an intimately suggestive relationship with the audience, the demands on the performers are even more challenging. Each of the eight performers in this very complex piece of theatre meets that challenge with … flying colours! Every sequence, every routine is perfectly timed, each smoothly executed. Every contact with the audience is subtly defined, cunningly intimated – or cheekily flaunted!
For those who just expect the spectacle of the ‘high wire’, Peepshow goes far beyond expectations. Whilst it amazes as only the tightly controlled mastery of circus acrobatics can, it adds the cleverness of suggestive play that becomes risqué – even, perhaps to some, a little shocking! It mixes circus, dance and acting in a production that is breath-taking, diverting and even a little erotic.
Peepshow shines in every way. It sparkles in colourful sequins and shimmers before a silvery backdrop lit by multiple shadowy light effects. But most of all it radiates in the stunning feats of the incredibly fit, highly trained, and theatrically talented performers … and their imaginative director.