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  • Alex First

On by Circa (Circa) - 65 minutes

A bare stage, save for the odd chair brought in now and again as a prop, is the domain of a troupe of eight highly talented artistes, known as Circa.


They drop, climb, roll, balance, hold and run – agility and strength being their stock in trade.


On by Circa is all about physicality.

Photos by Pia Johnson


A large oblong mat is their space to perform and they make an immediate impression.


Their displays of might and stamina are at times astounding. I can only imagine the countless hours of practice that must have gone in to perfecting these moves.


There is a deftness about their interactions.


The program, which I didn’t read until after I saw On by Circa, suggests that the work “explores physical connection, relationships and touch, after a long period of social distancing”.

Not wishing to sound like a heathen, but as someone who has seen and reviewed a great deal of circus, what I saw was a series of impressive acrobatic routines.


These are well choreographed, if somewhat repetitive.


Artistic director Yaron Lifschitz is said to investigate “the gift of weight that lies at the heart of acrobatics”.


The program reads: “the simple act of giving and accepting another’s mass is transformed into a profound meditation about beauty, loss and trust.”

There is undoubtedly a great deal of “faith” involved, as member of the collective are literally thrown … and caught, held aloft … and not dropped.


The show begins with a series of loud sounds – like gunshots – which continue well into the performance.


I found some of the sound effects and music rather jarring, especially those shots, which really irritated me.


At 65 minutes, I felt the company could readily have tightened the offering by a quarter of an hour and lost nothing.

Still, the remarkable athletic skills greatly outweighed my reservations.


On by Circa and Circa’s other shows are touring Australia (and the world). For tour dates, go to https://circa.org.au/shows/tour-dates/