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Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus (Circa) – theatre review

Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus is a stunning display of daredevil acrobatic artistry set to the dramatic tunes of Mozart, making it a wonderful way to introduce children to the composer’s music.

The family friendly show with an energetic circus twist starts slowly with a lonely birthday girl (Kathryn O’Keeffe) conjuring up Mozart (real-life husband Paul O’Keeffe) and a live accordionist (Gareth Chin) from her refrigerator. Despite his period costume attire and wig, Wolfgang is soon stretching, lifting and tumbling about with the girl, before departing from the fantasy. A quick record flip and he is back for us to hear and see more (much more) of him as he entertains with ‘don’t try this at home’ bicycle tricks and farcical antics. Then there is juggling, creative play with the show’s spotlight and a very funny slow-motion fight scene.

As the cheeky and eccentric musical prodigy, O’Keeffe provides most of the laughs through his mischievous animated expressions, silly but genuinely funny slapstick antics and over-the-top, man-child tantrum reactions to prop malfunctions. As expected in a Circa show, both performers are physically strong artists, as evidenced by their balancing and hand-to-hand routines. Together they present some truly impressive stunts tumbling and jumping over and atop one another.

While the on-stage comedy routine antics and snippets of audience involvement provide playful laughs and fun, it is the show’s reinvention of Mozart’s magical music that sets it apart from others. Movement is perfectly timed to its accompaniment, inspiring little ones to hum Mozart’s ‘Little Night Music’ as they are heading off afterwards. Of course you don’t need to be a youngster to appreciate the refreshing concept behind this whimsical journey, or the skills of its physical theatre performers. And that is what makes Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus another of the renowned international circus company’s special successes.

It is playing at QPAC, Cremorne Theatre until 18th January, 2020.

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