Pictured: Circus Clare (Claire Ogden) with, kneeling L to R, Julio 2 (Lachlan Snow) and Dimitri (Simon Arnold). Picture Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.
In a joyous 45-minute show, the bubbly and slightly-wacky Circus Claire (Claire Ogden) illustrates a journey of self-discovery with hula hoops, juggling, partner acrobatics, aerial tissue, physical comedy, and dance. You’ll come out ‘Walking on Sunshine’ (and not just because of the music selection). The Circus Claire Show is a charismatic performance by a versatile and skilled circus artist.
The premise behind the show is deceptively simple. Circus Clare performs an entertaining monologue about a stage career that includes everything from being an ABBA Tribute back-up dancer (at Wavell Services Club no less) through to being one half of an acrobatic duo. At each juncture, the story is illustrated with new skills learned and acts mastered. We listen to the ups and downs of a circus love story, and hear how Circus Clare pursued a range of different acts before realising that her true passion is for the hula hoop.
Every member of the 40+ audience had a great view (fantastic facilities at Flipside Circus include comfortable raked seating) and a personal ‘ welcome to my new friends’ from Circus Clare. Younger members of the audience were mesmerised—from the chance to say hello and tell Circus Clare their name, until the opportunity for a photograph with the star at the end of the show.
But even if you feel your own circus days are long-gone, everyone can enjoy the skilled, strong and flexible display of hula hooping, acrobatics, aerial tissue and juggling. The music choices kept the mood upbeat (music included ABBA, The Weather Girls, and Katrina and the Waves—courtesy of sound/technical support by Kelsey Adams), and the mixture of solo/duo work, speech and dance provide great variety.
The program is a well-judged combination of comedy and skill. I particularly enjoyed the humour of the guest appearances by ‘Boris’ (Shane Smith), ‘Julio 2’ (on the evening I attended, performed by the co-opted Lachlan Snow) and ‘Dimitri ‘(on 15th May, courtesy of Simon Arnold). The acrobatic/strength ‘pas-de-deux’ with ‘Boris’—in and out of love—were superb. Funny, impressive, controlled, and well-timed. And I hope that Lachlan and Simon get a chance to dine out for many days to come on their hula-hooping and good-natured involvement in the show.
Claire Ogden is a skilled performer (performing solo and with Shane Smith as the comedic acrobatic duo Scrambled Legs), and teacher (offering a range of circus classes). The Circus Clare Show premiered as part of the 2015 Wonderland Festival—the year when Circus Clare was selected as a Peoples’ Choice Award winner, following her participation in Brisbane’s Guinness World Record ‘World’s Biggest Busk’. If you get the chance to see her in action in The Circus Clare Show (only one more performance remaining) then go.
Verdict: Great Fun—take your Mum, Dad, and friends along. Be warned… you may find you want to run away to the circus too (or at least sign up for the Circus Clare classes).
Audience Tip: It’s easy to find. Just look out for the hula hoop students (complete with led hoops and fairy light hats) at the Flipside Circus turning off Mina Parade.
The reviewer attended the Sunday 15th 2016 performance. This short run ends on Saturday 21st 2016 (see the Anywhere Festival website for tickets/ details). The production is available for touring, so if you miss it this time keep an eye open for future shows.