Riiding the Wheel of Death
Produced by QPAC in association with Simon Painter and Tim Lawson
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: January 9 -17. Bookings: QTIX 136 246 or www.qpac.com.au
Cirque Adrenaline is, as promised, breathtaking, and at times makes eye-boggling tributes to the versatility of the human body, mixed in with a laser light show and pounding music.
All the acts were great, but there was one that stood out for me.
Just when you think circus performers have reached the peak of dare-devilry, someone come along and scares the life out of you.
The Cirque Adrenaline act The Wheel of Death, was the one that left me gobsmacked. I enjoy modern circus and have watched a lot over the years. I love the unbelievable stunts modern performers create, and I thought I was beyond amazement, but Columbians Angelo Rodriguez and Carlos Mayorga changed my mind.
The wheel in fact is a pair of man-sized wheels joined by a central strut and balanced in the centre to rotate. The two young men began to rotate the wheels from the inside with amazing precision and that looked dangerous enough, but then they climbed onto the outside of these spinning death traps and performed stunt after stunt, running, skipping, falling, jumping, somersaulting with unbelievable ease.
I am still trying to accept the fact that it actually happened.
But there were other acts that seemed to defy reality and we were led into them by Darren Partridge as Dizzy the Clown. Now here was a real clown and mime artist. He had no red nose or huge shoes, but great mime skills, a terrific sense of humour and a few magic tricks.
He kept the audience laughing as he covered technical breaks and equipment changes with jokes and audience participation. He also did an hilarious job with audience members in the silent movie routine, and I loved his “man-in-balloon” act too.
Dizzy opened the show and before interval we had gaped at Gediminas Pavlovicius and his Rolla Bolla, which saw him do increasingly difficult balancing on rolling metal cylinders.
The tiny Sabrina Aganier gave us the Aerial Lyra; unbelievable contortions and balance inside a metal hoop high in the air.
There was more aerial magic from Alex and Nastya Mishchenko with the Duo Strap. Again the strength and suppleness of the human body was on display. At one time it seemed quite possible that Nastya would be torn in half so extreme was the display of aerial gymnastics.
The tempo was changed when Dai Zaobob and the Extreme Team members joined in a fiery exhibition of burning, twirling batons and belts. Strong men Mark Flores and Nikolay Nikolov performed the slow motion controlled balancing act that always leaves me marvelling at the strength of the men and we saw magic moments on the square high bar.
In between the extreme team members gave us shows of strength, balance, acrobatics, and the marvellous trampoline wall, where half a dozen or so team members jumped and dived from the high wall in precision movements.
They were all brilliant to watch,.
Then the finale came on the Sphere of Death, when the Espana troupe drove madly around the inside of the metal sphere at 100 kilometres per hour, dodging, weaving, and managing to keep from crashing into each other.
It was an exhilarating couple of hours of high octane entertainment.