Dance, physical theatre & circus review: Driftwood

Australias most exciting new circus company, Casus Circus
Australias most exciting new circus company, Casus Circus
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After wowing us with Knee Deep in recent years, Australian circus company Casus has now taken up permanent residence in the hearts of Fringe-goers, and rightly so.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3)

In an almost flooded market, Casus has floated like cream to the top, alongside fellow Australians Circa (it should come as no surprise to learn that two former Circa members co-founded Casus).

Driftwood finds the company in largely similar territory to Knee Deep – stripped back circus skills that are both breathtakingly beautiful and eye-wateringly difficult. Acrobatics form the backbone of what they do, although it’s a wonder some of them have a spine at all after the pressure they put it under. In one particularly challenging routine, Jesse Scott balances a bespoke metal contraption on his head – some form of ladder/coat hook hybrid – which looks hard enough as it is. Until Lachlan McAulay gently climbs to the top of it and does a one hand balance – then it just looks agonising (and awesome, obviously).

Finding new ways to link bodies, lift each other and balance in fiendishly tricky positions is all in a day’s work for Casus, as is dismounting from it with a flourish of graceful beauty. It’s never just a case of dropping back down and walking away, when a synchronised group forward roll looks far more pleasing.

But amongst the muscle and power, is delicacy, too. When Kali Retallack climbs into an aerial hoop in her velvet dress, the busy outside world just melts away. All that is left is Retallack, curling her body around the frame, spinning through the air and holding us in her sway.

All good circus is about teamwork, but the close bond between these five performers is especially strong. During a brief moment early on, they are like one body, snaked around each other to form a human table. It sets the scene for what’s to come – an exercise in human connection on every level.

Until 28 August. Today 3:30pm.

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