Dance, physical theatre & circus review: Grace

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Circus is so often punctuated by breaks for applause that losing yourself in the narrative is rarely an option.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Assembly Checkpoint (Venue 322)

But when Emma Serjeant drops down from the ceiling and begins imparting the tale of Grace – a successful photographer whose life is turned upside down by a random event – we stay silent. Nothing breaks the spell of her strong yet delicate hand balances, her contortion or high-flying aerial work. We just watch and listen.

Which is refreshing, as is Serjeant’s strategy of mixing circus skills with what essentially amounts to a theatrical monologue, albeit delivered in different ways, both live and recorded. What’s missing, is more. More words, more explanation, more opportunities to get to know the character of Grace, barely hinted at with droplets of biography about the children she gave up, the brother she tolerates, the ailing father.

Serjeant is a former member of both Casus and Circa, two of Australia’s finest circus companies, so she’s more than earned her stripes. And visually, Grace lacks nothing. Now all she needs is a strong dramaturgist to give her the narrative she deserves.

Until 28 August. Today 5:30pm.

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