Pants Down Circus – Rock
Pants Down Circus @ Garden of Unearthly Delights – Little Big Top
3:30pm, Sun 9 Mar 2014
I was in the Garden a bit early, ostensibly to try something new from the myriad of food options available, but most of the food stalls were shut… and it’s also pretty uncomfortable, weather-wise. It’s hot, but the sun was well hidden behind thick cloud cover, with the humidity making it more uncomfortable than the temperature alone would dictate. I grabbed a quick (and unsatisfying) bite to eat, and then noticed that the queue for my next show had already started forming; I joined it early enough to be afforded some shade.
MJ turns up a bit later, and we chat a bit more about the shows she’s got lined up; she’d heard great things about Pants Down Circus, and I (using the power of my recollection of their 2012 show) tried not to spoil the surprise and hype them too much. But I also knew that she was heading over to see Gravity & Other Myths with me after this show, and the self-control required to not over-hype them almost caused me to burst.
Eventually, the crowd piles in to the Little Big Top and the show kicks off ten minutes late – I know the tight changeovers I face today, so I’m a little nervous to be wodged in the middle of a (near-?) sell-out crowd, surrounded by families. But with a thumping rock opening, the four members of Pants Down Circus take to the stage and deliver an hour of non-stop spectacle.
There’s plenty of acrobatic flips and spins and balance work – during a three-tube balance attempt, a kid sitting behind us yelled “I hope you don’t die, lady,” his voice laced with skepticism. There’s ladders and hoops and leaf-blowers, a consistent callback to some tennis racquet shenanigans, and it’s all accompanied by the perpetual smiles and humour and hair-metal stylings of the Pants Down crew.
Thankfully, their approach to gender “norms” in circus tricks hasn’t changed; Hannah Cryle still performs the bulk of the strength work, and the two guys in the group (Joshua Phillips and Idris Stanton) are far more likely to strip down than Cryle or Caz Walsh. There’s a wonderful sense of understanding within the troupe, and a tangible sense of enthusiasm emanating from the stage. And whilst the trapeze act somehow felt like a last-minute addition to the show, that’s the only time there wasn’t a wonderful flow from one segment to the next… and the trapeze act itself was still great.
There’s simply no denying that Pants Down Circus is brilliant entertainment. It’s loud and brash and exuberant and funny and exciting; you’ll gasp and laugh and applaud with gusto. And it’s all totally deserved.
But then, as I did on this day, you’ll go and see another show…
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 9, 2014