So many contemporary productions, be it dance, musical, or even drama, now incorporate circus discipline and skills. With the wide availability of productions that include acrobatics and circus skill in modern theatre, performers and directors must generate new ways of presenting acts whilst maintaining originality. There is a need for a clear sense of direction in order to make their interpretation stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, C!RCA falls flat due to its complete lack of purpose.

There is no indication in the slightest of a through-theme or narrative in the piece, not even the hint of exploration of a subject matter. The piece is purely presentational, which on the level of street theatre is more than acceptable, however when watching act after act in a theatrical setting for eighty minutes one can’t help but day dream.

The mish-mash of a sound track is a combination of irrelevant pre-recorded pop tracks with fuzzy fades of white noise which makes no attempt to elevate the action. The lighting is also poorly executed in its transition from one cue to the next.

As part of the International Dance Festival it would be easy to assume that the piece would include dance interludes, or a combination of acrobatics with the expression dance that dance can hold, much like the fantastic Sutra which played at the venue earlier in the festival. What very little dance the piece includes is mostly mindless and once again makes no attempt to be different from anything else we have seen before, thus portraying what appears to be mixing bowl of people wanting to show off the best they can.

Obviously, there is great talent in the ensemble of gymnasts who truly did thrill some members of the audience with the way they bounced of one another and various pieces of apparatus.

There is an exception to the monotonous nature of the proceedings when a member of the troupe stands in a single spotlight and entertains the audience through the use of his hands alone; a simple, effective and inventive moment of which I wish we had seen more.

C!RCA does include some audience pleasing highlights, however, there is nothing to prevent the production fading into the back catalogue of so many other productions of the same nature.

- Ben Wooldridge