Review: Up In The Air – A Zeus Tale

CAPTIVATING: Killian Denecker as Zeus in Circus Avalon’s Up in the Air.Up In The Air – A Zeus Tale
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Presented by: Circus Avalon (circusavalon南京夜网.au)

Venue: Circus Avalon Big Top, Newcastle PCYC grounds, Broadmeadow

Season: Saturday and Sunday, 11am and 3pm (final shows)

WHEN audience members enter Circus Avalon’s tent for this show, they get a back view of Zeus, the king of the ancient Greek gods, on a high platform opposite them.

Zeus, with long white hair and beard, and garbed in glittering gold, is clearly bored and – as the performers are ushered by clowns onto a stage below him – it is evident that he has demanded to be entertained.

Initially, most of the performers are dismissed at the end of their routines by Zeus (Killian Denecker) waving a lightning bolt at them. But he gradually watches the acts more intently and, at show’s end, reveals that he also has remarkable skills.

Circus Avalon artistic director John Campbell has packed a dozen acts into the brisk hour-long show, with the audience seated above a fog-machine-created cloud that covers the tent floor and the artists reacting amusingly to the differing responses of Zeus.

Bird-wings-wearing clown Kim Morris starts the action by climbing a high Chinese pole to light Zeus’s mountain with a torch attached to the end of an umbrella.

There are many more umbrellas in the next act, with a gold-garmented Emma Phillips juggling up to four of them with her feet, before twirling a small table on her soles.

Rabbit-eared Elsa Chan responds to Zeus’s shouted “I’m bored” with remarkable pivoting of hula hoops. Casually garbed Sami Chrispin eye-poppingly turns a trapeze upside down while swinging on it and later joins Hannah Toogood in a stunning display of balancing and gymnastic skills on a ring hanging just below the tent roof.

Chris Miller twists his body around simultaneously with twirling telephone receivers and flaming poi balls, Jessica Peters does amazing contortions on a small circular platform and Cassie Millard attracts the impressed attention of Zeus wearing a two-piece gold costume and pirouetting around a trapeze.

This is followed by Bevan Clouston in a sedate business hat juggling clubs and balls, and Juliet Horrocks in a glittering red outfit climbing aerial silks to the circus dome and sliding smoothly down.

The applause that last act generates leads Zeus, carefully watched by his elegantly clad wife, Hera, (clown Katie Whyburn) to remove his gold cloak, hair and beard, and show what prowess his godly figure has on a heavenly ring. This act, and those before it, are earthly pleasures for watchers.