Following a successful stretch at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Casus Circus bring their hit piece Driftwood to Underbelly Festival, Southbank. Based in Brisbane, Australia, the group is recognised across international stages as one of the leading companies in contemporary circus.
Their signature style is born from their own values of humanity, friendship, and connection; and through this, nurture sincere choreography and acrobatics of a delicate and impressive aesthetic.
Driftwood is inspired by the connections that are created in the ebb and flow of life’s current, and how these encounters stimulate changes in the people that we eventually become. As a band of five, Casus embark on an intimate journey that delights in mortality, and that celebrates the body.
Dry ice stuck to the air inside the Spiegeltent, and a single red lampshade hung over a narrow stage. Sat in the round, the audience were thrust close to the action, in chairs pressed tightly against one another. The lampshade lowered, and the group of acrobats mounted the stage, passing through the audience in a trance. Their dress was basic yet faintly extravagant, and tentatively, they travelled together, moving as one.
The company wore smiles painted with anxiety as they contorted their laboured limbs in impossible directions. Their unsteady physicality cultivated a surge of viewer anxiety, and sharp inhalations could be heard through the gaps in the score. This system of disjointed melodies threaded the performance together, and reflected the ever-wavering balance of each performer. Strangely, the uneven spectacle proved endearing as opposed to troublesome, and worked to engage the spectator further.
In an absence of dialogue, the troupe communicated using eye contact as well as physical connection and disconnection. The trust shared between the five was almost loving. They met and parted with generous choreography that tested all in equal measure. Their movements did not convey a distinguishable narrative, but were instead fuelled by an unspoken kinship.
Solo sequences rendered the remainder of the group immobile, and their eyes widened in an appreciation of their comrade. Shannon Vitall’s performance on the aerial hoop was particularly stunning; as was Jon Bonaventura’s display using a cord lisse. Motivated by one another, ensemble arrangements were executed with a childlike innocence. None were deterred by the fear of pain that accompanies maturity, and enamoured, they teased the audience with their bravery.
Casus deliver an inspiring, yet precarious performance. Wonderfully inventive, their work enjoys a unique energy and promises a splendid physical range. Driftwood is a delight, and the group braid comedy and danger freely to provide their audiences with an earthly reminder of what it is to be human.
Driftwood is playing at the Underbelly Festival Southbank until June 4.