life · Travel and Outing Reviews

Outing Review: Out of the Box

Day two of the 2014 Out of the Box Festival was some kind of glorious.

Brisbane’s renowned for its mild winters, and today’s clear blue sky and warm wintry sun were the perfect setting for Out of the Box’s outdoor activities.

I almost had to drag my little boys off of that sunshine-drenched, white-tent village of a lawn when it was time to go in to the theatre for Circa’s performance.

When we did arrive inside, we were ushered (upon my request, and for the sake of the other patron’s eardrums- babygirl can squeal – ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!!!) to a soundproof viewing room.

We took our seats, my sons 2 and 4, my daughter of 8 months and my mum, who we’d invited along for the day.

The show began.

Agile, athletic acrobats filled the stage, moving in eerily animalistic ways, displaying the grace of ballerinas and the strength and flexibility of gymnasts. They raised large red and white striped sails which spanned from the floor to the ceiling, creating the walls of the big top.

Behind them, a screen filled with ever- evolving patterns and scenery entertained and engaged the audience.

The collaboration between multimedia (the screen, the visual design, the lighting, the sound) and the live performing arts, enthralled my children; and everyone else in the theatre.

It was a breathtakingly beautiful, imaginative and unique experience.

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I’d anticipated this show with great enthusiasm, given Circa’s previous acclaim. And Circa certainly lived up to the hype.

The performers told the narrative of the travelling circus using their bodies, and let the background imagery set each scene.

My boys took delight in whispering what each animal was as it took shape using it’s human “host’s” body.

The skill with which the performers transformed into creatures and characters, had a realistic, yet ethereal quality. They possessed an amazing ability to become the animals.

Of course, my favourite part of the show was when large chrysalises appeared on the screen enveloping the performers, and which then morphed into beautiful butterflies one at a time , and flitted away majestically.

The short segments of action, punctuated by changes of the scenery on screen, were the optimal length to maintain the young viewers’ attention.

At one point, after watching a huge shark ominously stalk the actors (fish), inflatable toy sharks were launched into the audience, creating fun and encouraging participation and interaction.

The penultimate scene is a monochrome screen, black and white and geometric, with the cast dancing in the foreground holding red balloons. The visual effect of the movement and striking flashes of colour was magnificent.

Large red balls were then propelled into the theatre for the children in the audience to join in the performance. It was quite spectacular to see.

If you have young children and would love for them to experience an internationally acclaimed company performing in the only festival of its kind, head to Out of the Box’s website for ticketing details.

This would make for a fantastic school holiday excursion.

Thank you to QPAC, who have kindly sponsored this post by supplying tickets to Circus of the Animals.

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