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Review - Circus Oz: Model Citizens: bravado and fun

Above: Mitch checks out his sacrificial lambs for the Australia Day barbecue

Model Citizens

Circus Oz Directed by Rob Tannion

Playhouse Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank Brisbane

Brisbane season has ended.

Model Citizens is the first creation to be directed by Circus Oz’s new Artistic Director, Rob Tannion and it contains all the bravado and fun you would expect from Circus Oz, plus a lot more. The show is a brilliant progressive move for the company

It is rollicking 100 minute romp through amazing tumbling, balancing, comedy, and slapstick, plus great live music and some tongue in cheek political and social comment as the audience is taken on this journey through a chaotic model kit world.

But this is not just a show of circus skills; there is a tale behind it all as the satirical journey talks through the myths of modern Australia, with busyness, barbecues, and credit cards, and mixes it with a world of real models with stiff jointed dolls and giant props

The show opened with Mitch Jones, the punk circus act with vivid red hair and dressed in black. He introduced himself and the show, then with a swirl he dumped the black and underneath were multi-hued pants and a ripped body that showed off many of his 60 tattoos.

Mitch not only talked through this unique show, but performed some of hi own tricks- like throwing knives, escaping from straitjacket while hanging upside down as well as performing in a fascinating aerial act. Then of course he skated round the stage in a pink tutu.

He is man of many talents.

No circus would be complete without the hula hoop and bombshell Freyja Edney with her masses of silver hoops was a star as she whirled the hoops with hardly a movement of her body. It was one of the best hoop acts I’ve seen.

Jake Sylvestro had a magic touch with the cyr wheel, and joined in the immaculate tumbling, which was as neat and perfectly timed as anything I’ve ever seen – and that includes Cirque du Soliel. It was precision tumbling at its very best.

There were great balance tricks with a giant clothes peg and high wire mischief with a pair of oversized underpants. There were some super acrobatics on the rope ladder that stretch high above the stage

There were a lot of huge credit cards lying around too and Luke Ha built his own house of cards and then did handstands at the top before his line of credit abruptly cancelled by Mitch. It was a neat piece of balancing.

For me the highlight of the show was segment where Mitch sang, to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, an ode to the Weber “Who’ll come and worship my Weber with me” while a flock of very worried sheep sat in a pen watched over by the dog. The words were brilliantly satirical and funny and had the audience laughing uproariously.

I had a thoroughly good time.

After a great four days in Brisbane the show now continues its tour to Townsville (20 – 21 April); Rockhampton (26 April); Mackay (29 – 30 April); Gold Coast (10 May); Lismore (12 – 13 May); Wyong, (19 – 20 May); Penrith (26 – 27 May); Griffith (31 May); Wagga Wagga (2 – 3 June); Melbourne, VIC – Circus Oz Big Top premiere (20 June – 16 July).

Check with your local Ticketec for bookings.

Freyja Edney: magic with the hula hoop

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