I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Eric...
by Emily Klemmer
December 21, 2003 -- New Victory Theater/New York
Take a trip to the magical Circus Oz at the New Victory Theater in New York City and you’ll see the zany Australian company reinvent the impossible: a human who walks on ceilings, an indecent robot-dog named Eric that orders clowns to sit and roll over, and a strong woman who spins inside a giant “German Wheel.”
To the music of the onstage rock band, this troop spits, juggles, and whips fire as casually as children spin hula-hoops around their bare mid-drifts. And with a mix of burlesque and tradition, the costumes are a sensation - sassy lacy garters meet big clown shoes.
Dressed in bright yellow bird suits, the company soars across the stage from trapeze to trapeze, loudly cawing and cackling in excitement as they try to teach their youngest chick how to fly. But after he disappears from under their wings, they find him perched on the balcony’s edge. Spotlight on him—he jumps! Splat! All at once, it is dark, and with cheeky indifference they sing, “I’m in Heaven…” It is slapstick to the highest degree.
Quickly the mood changes to eerie German oom-pa-pa music as violinist Suzanne Simpson leads the muscular Scott Hone around the stage while he balances like a prima ballerina on the handlebars of his BMX dirt bike.
Just when you think this animal-free one-ring circus can’t possibly further stretch the limits - or your imagination - there is Matty, the adventurous Boy Scout who is shot from the “Humanitarian Cannon” so he can earn his Most Daring Flight Without a Parachute Merit Badge. Then there’s the captivating Ruby Rowat, who sweeps out over the audience on her trapeze, touching the ceiling with her toes; she dangles precariously from one foot and then flips in mid-air only to grab her trapeze at the last second. She literally makes you stop breathing!
This is possibly the most outrageous, mind-blowing, exotic collaboration of talent you can possibly see, anywhere. They are masterful in their feats and seem thrilled to be taking you on a trip - a trip to a land where things are not what they seem. Once you are there, it is too late…there is no return from the land of Circus Oz!
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