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Circus Oz are back with a performance all about daring stunts, comedy and... engineering? Sarah Braybrooke went along to investigate

Construction is the theme of Circus Oz's latest production. Unfolding around a huge steel girder which forms the set's centrepiece, the repertoire ranges from cosy circus classics like trapeze to satirical songs about racism in Australia. The last thing you expect at the circus is politics, but Circus Oz wears its values on its sleeve, crafting a subversive carnival atmosphere which celebrates inclusion and diversity.

This shared goal isn't the only thing that the performers are building towards, however. Sporting hard hats and spanners as props, they have good cause to be thinking about a more literal construction project: the new, permanent home of Circus Oz which is to be established in Collingwood over the next year. The first dedicated theatre for circus in Australia, it's an exciting development for the 34-year-old company.

For now the Big Top can be found on Birrarung Marr. Inside there's a satisfyingly traditional circus feel, with popcorn, cracking music, and a vibrant crowd which is made for people-watching. A little rough and ready at times, it's family-friendly show with some lovely highlights, including the magnetic stage presence of Ghenoa Gela and a brilliantly vertiginous sway pole act. Catch From the Ground Up before it heads off around the country and to New York later in the year.

Ghenoa Gela on Circus Oz

By Sarah Braybrooke   |  

Circus Oz: From the Ground Up details

Behind Federation Square
Under the Circus Oz Big Top
Batman Ave, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 1300 889 278

Price $24.00 to $92.00

Date 20 Jun 2012-15 Jul 2012

Birrarung Marr map

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