Melbourne Fringe: Cirque du Bloke

Take two Ocker mates, real manly men, and have them out in the bush doing circus tricks, sometimes involving beer. That’s the setup for Three High Acrobatics’ Cirque du Bloke, where Bazza and Gazza – kitted out in blue singlets and flannies – have the Aussie answer to that poncy, European style of circus.

Circus at the Fringe Hub
Cirque du Bloke is circus at the Fringe Hub

Our blokes are NICA graduates Sam Aldham and Chris Carlos who I’ve seen previously, most recently as two thirds of the very enjoyable “Knock Off” at Gasworks Art Park, the venue hosting most of the circus performances at Fringe 2013. The presence of Cirque du Bloke in the Lithuanian Club Ballroom is a mixed blessing. While the hub location might help the show find an audience more easily, the stage is a lot smaller than that of the Gasworks, which restricted the dynamism seen in the previous outing. For those familiar with their work, the tricks that are allowed by the performance space don’t seem to have developed all that much from past shows.

However, the tricks are pretty dang good. Both performers are physically very strong, and they have retained their impressive balancing formations from past shows.  While the juggling seemed to suffer from nerves on opening night, these should settle and the ideas behind the routine is fresh. The choice of bush locale gives Bazza and Gazza the opportunity to work with rustic props whilst dispensing camping tips, and issue blokey challenges to each other. I would like to see the comedic potential of these challenges developed further. Having seen the performers a few times now, I am starting to feel misgivings that many attempts at humour derive from presenting their characters in homoerotic situations. I guess that’s a very blokey thing to laugh at, but it might be refreshing to explore some new areas. It’s also a bit unfortunate as Cirque du Bloke is an early evening show that might otherwise be less awkward for parents with children in tow.

Generally speaking, Cirque du Bloke gets a thumbs up, mate. A lot of circus I’ve seen recently has been a series of tricks, and Three High Acrobatics are effectively differentiating themselves from these by making a serious attempt to have characters in their shows.

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