The Night of a Million Impossible Things

The audience was transfixed as a lone figure appeared to break the known laws of the Universe… our eyes followed a plain piece of paper as it danced and flipped and twirled, cartwheeled and soared, attached to first the hand…and then the foot of a man.

Welcome to the world of Beyond – an Alice in Wonderland-esque escape down rabbit holes of the imagination – by Brisbane-based contemporary circus troupe – CIRCA… special guests at the Cork Midsummer Festival (which continues next weekend).

This was just one of many impossible things to happen just a few feet in front of us as seven Australian circus performers, rewrote the laws of gravity and plausibility before our very eyes. A woman balancing two men on her shoulders. A man who had earlier carried four adult humans off stage in one go, fitting his body through a tennis racket. The strong woman who solved a Rubiks cube whilst being balanced on, climbed over, and eventually with her eyes covered. Another woman lifts a man above her head whilst delicately balancing on pointes. I lost count of the number of things that my jaw dropped open at, my eyes opened wider and my brain split apart as I looked at my fellow audience members in disbelief: “did that REALLY just happen?”

The program flowed seamlessly, from somber to bombastic, silly to stunningly beautiful, through romance and nightmare, with a fabulous soundtrack, at times haunting, at others hilarious. Clowning and storytelling were integrated throughout, and the packed audience felt in very safe hands. Gendered assumptions went up in smoke. There was an eroticism, a sense of playful surreality, and profound creativity that you rarely see. I spent the performance wishing that my body could do just a feeble percentage of the things that theirs could. This is a troupe of scarily talented performers who make you feel glad to be alive, proud to be human, envious of their skills, highly respectful of the level of training and rehearsal they must put in, and humbled to be able to pay to watch them. They got a five minute standing ovation.


My only regret is that I only got two tickets… and they are leaving Cork today… I so wanted to share them with everyone I know. So if they’re heading your way, if you get a chance to see this company, do not let it pass you by. (Upcoming tour dates this summer are: Norway, Belgium, Germany, Canada… and a fabulous two week stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival).

Can’t see them live? Then you can watch a full performance of another of their shows here…

Seeing is believing!

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