Review: Circa: Wolfgang

Some wow moments but mostly slapstick and silliness from the Australian company's debut for kids

★★★
dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Circa: Wolfgang. Image: Damien Bredberg
Published 06 Aug 2018

Circa have been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for years now, but this is the first time Yaron Lifschitz’s acclaimed Australian company have brought a show that’s specifically for kids. Wolfgang is a three-handed piece­—one musician, two performers—loosely themed around the music of Mozart.

There’s not tonnes of circus involved, actually. At least, not much of the jaw-dropping, arse-clenching stuff. There’s still plenty of acrobatics, plenty of people balancing on other people. Just don’t go in expecting to have your mind blown by death-defying feats of daring.

It starts with a woman (Kathryn O’Keeffe) alone on her birthday. She blows the dust off a Mozart record, sticks it on, and—hey presto!—Amadeus himself (Paul O’Keeffe) appears magically to cheer her up, dressed in a powder pink tailcoat and a bouffant wig, like Tom Hulce in the Milos Forman film.

What follows is essentially a series of circus-y pas de deux, set to pared down and pepped up versions of the big guy’s greatest hits. O’Keeffe and O’Keeffe fighting in slow motion. O’Keeffe and O’Keeffe mucking about with conductor’s batons. A great bit where Kathryn helps Paul get dressed as he clambers over a moving bike.

There are some wow moments—the finale, a balancing act involving chairs and champagne bottles, is brill—but most of the show is taken up with slapstick and silliness, which sends the young audience into hoots of laughter, but is a bit underwhelming for everyone else.