Circus arts performed in a most unlikely setting. Statera puts the supermarket or grocery store front and centre. It is imaginative, clever, funny and upbeat. It enables four performers – Karina Schiller, Aleshanee Kelso, Dylan Singh and Tomas Correia – to showcase their considerable skills. Above all, balance is required, not to overlook dexterity and strength. Tumbles, jumps and acrobatics are part of the repertoire, along with the wherewithal to use a drill (I kid you not, for there are no less than three in use during certain elements of this production).
Mix this with the sounds of grocery items being scanned, although in this case people “play” the purchases, and an up-tempo music score. Then throw in four, approximately two-centimetre-thick Perspex screens, ranging in height from under a metre to about two metres, each held in place by black steel legs. It is those see-through rectangular blocks that are the platforms upon which the artistes ply their craft – leaping, cavorting and shimmying. These props are disassembled and reassembled a number of times to ensure variety in performance.
The entertainment begins at the check-out queue, with the “merchandise” – in this case the performers – being scanned, complete with appropriate sounds. It sets the tone for a memorable 45 minutes of entertainment, the likes of which I dare say you won’t have seen before. The store “employees” – all dressed in shades of brown – are constantly cleaning, rubbing and polishing. At one stage even the audience is given the spray and wipe treatment. Suffice to say, there is a lot of funny stuff going on, with laughter aplenty as well as applause. Among the best routines is when the quartet play chickens and strut their stuff.
It takes special individuals to come up with the concept, let alone execute the “tricks” with joy on their faces, which this troupe does. While I felt the opening needed spicing up, thereafter I became thoroughly absorbed and entertained, constantly wondering what was coming next. There is a lot to like about Statera Circus, which makes an auspicious debut with Statera. It is playing at Gasworks until 29th May, 2021 and then touring. For more information, go to stateracircus.com
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Lexicon (Royal Botanic Gardens) – theatre review
- Shaun The Sheep’s Circus Show (Circa) – theatre review
- Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus (Circa) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.