Super Circus Squad is a great idea, well-executed, and just perfect for audiences young and old. Great outfits, good humour, enjoyable audience interaction, and some great physical theatre, trapeze, acrobatics, balance and ‘strength’ along the way. Feisty, feel-good chuckles, complete with a positive message, a strong female role-model, and suggestions as to how to handle those who are being mean to you when a visiting superhero isn’t on hand to come to your rescue. Perfect for school fundraisers, educational treats, festivals and parties—and a great choice to include in the 2018 Anywhere Festival.
Hannah Cryle and Reece Cooper—with additional support on this occasion from superhero Rose and ‘villan-teer’ Matt Rowe—held the attention of their all age audience at the Queensland Maritime Museum on 20th May. The show ran for perhaps 40 minutes although, even during warm-up, Hannah maintained a positive interaction with the audience (an extra bonus, we learned, from watching an Anywhere Festival event). Having captured the interest of the younger spectators, and explained that Super Circus Squad is a “superhuman story” where the audience get to choose the adventure (and where “everyone is allowed to have fun”), the performers were rewarded with early squeals of laughter at their “pre-show ritual.”
The ‘opening credits’ for the show are a great idea—demonstrating some of the complementary skills of the performers (with strength and trapeze by Cryle, and acrobatics by Cooper), some well-observed humour, and (of course) superhero poses.
The audience were kept on their toes by having to assist in naming their superheros (there is a ‘formula to such things, apparently), before hearing about some of the successful world-saving recently undertaken by (at our show) The Blue Boat and The Purple Blahblah. The ‘slow-motion galaxy’ story was not only great fun, but also an excellent demonstration of Cooper’s headstands and work on the handstand poles—as well as of the comedic skills of Cryle.
An important part of the show was the selection, naming and ‘training’ of the volunteers. On the 20th May, Rose proved a perfect superhero, great dancer, and future acrobat with charming interactions with fellow superhero The Blue Boat (Cooper). Cryle’s transformation of Matthew Rowe was very amusing (Chief Executive Officer, Queensland Maritime Museum, who proved to be a general good sport as co-opted villan-teer for our show). We all now know the key traits of any cartoon anti-hero.
The show had a great finale, integrating trapeze, strength and acrobatics in a ‘duet’ between Cryle and Cooper, and closing with a reminder of a useful technique for dealing with everyday villains (or, at least those who are trying to be mean to you). Of course, there was then time for a picture with your favourite superhero before going off to find some ice-cream.
Verdict: Great fun. Feisty, feel-good chuckles that everyone can enjoy (and a positive message to take away).
Audience tip: Seek this one out at future festivals.
Presented by Happy Haps Productions. Only three performances during Anywhere Festival 2018: Montessori International College, Forest Glen (11am on 13th and 19th May), and Queensland Maritime Museum 3pm, 20th May).
Tickets were available at the Anywhere Festival website. $10. Suitable for audiences of any age.
The reviewer attended the Sunday 20th May (3pm) performance.
Pictures Credit: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.