Australia’s high-flying Circus Oz creates scenes inspired by the 1932 photo of NYC construction workers on a crossbeam
By FRANK SCHECK
December 4, 2012
CIRCUS OZ: FROM THE GROUND UP
New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St.; 646-223-3010. Through Dec. 30. 100 minutes, one intermission.
Best not to walk the kiddies past an open construction site after taking them to “Circus Oz: From the Ground Up.” The Australian troupe’s new show makes dangling high up on a construction beam seem like the coolest thing in the world.
In its fifth appearance at the New Victory, the Melbourne-based company presents a blend of high energy acrobatics, juggling, magic, exuberant clowning and all around derring-do, accompanied by a pounding rock score performed by musicians who occasionally throw themselves into the action.
The concept comes from Charles C. Ebbets’ classic 1932 photo “New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam.” While nobody actually eats onstage, the theme is established by a set design featuring beams, cranes and rigging on which the troupe frolics with athletic abandon.
One performer balances precariously atop a teetering pole, while another slides down it headfirst at literally breakneck speed, stopping just before he hits the ground. Acrobats fly high above on cables and perform a teeterboard routine featuring dizzying flips.
Ghenoa Gela, the Aboriginal Australian who is Oz’s ringleader, delivers some lessons about racial identity and tolerance along the way that will probably sail over the heads of the younger kids in the audience. But they’ll laugh uproariously at the antics of the spandex-clad “Fantaysia Fitness” (Flip Kammerer), who performs a comic Rollerblading routine that leaves her mock-winded.
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