It looks as if Flipside Circus have another hit on their hands. And of course, as skilled circus practitioners, ‘on their hands’ is a feature of Statum, a production that includes a witty take on different types of ‘walking on hands.’
The title of the show is suitably intriguing, bringing to mind everything from data points through to health status and the components of The State. Apparently ‘statum’ is the singular of the word status, and the word can also be translated as meaning to stand still or firm (fortunately there are on-line Latin to English translations available). Let’s just say that Statum is a blend of all of the above, and more.
Although the show starts with a wealth of data—provided by the ‘big brother’ voice—the artists gradually move from being “the performers” (obeying the disembodied instructions, and undertaking various challenges) to being named individuals who share information about their concerns, things they find difficult to do, and even the list of what they have eaten today.
The Flipside performance troupe are credited as performers and creators (Mia Hughes, Tula Homes, Zebedee Davies, Eden Vann, Oscar Morris, Samantha Giles, Cassidy Burke, Lucy Hunterland, Aurora Bennett-Godde and Indra Garvey). They each have the chance to shine with a menu of tricks that includes with excellent balance, controlled headstands, some amazing jumps flips and rolls (particularly by Oscar Morris), focused floor bouncing/juggling (Cassidy Burke), skipping and great aerial (Aurora Bennett-Godde), and strength. The troupe also work well together, often when required to stand still or support a fellow artist. The work is polished and professional, benefiting from the experience of the Flipside trainers and creatives (main trainer/creator: Aliya Abisheva), and from the confident and focused performances of the artists. What is even more impressive is that all of the performers are under 18, and they each make important contributions to the show (including the youngest member of the troupe, Eden Vann, who is a confident and focused performer—with great ‘hand walking,’ some very fast spinning and skipping ‘rope’ work, and quite fabulous ‘crowd surfing’/rolling).
Statum is not only a show that should be on the ‘must see’ list for fans of circus and acrobatics. Nathan Sibthorpe (Counterpilot Director/video co-design/creator) and Robert Kronk (Flipside’s Director/dramaturg/creator)—with the support of their co-creatives, Jeremy Gordon, Christine Felmingham, Sarah Winter, John Felmingham, Clinton Freeman, Kelsey Booth—have created a show that is a ‘must see’ for videographers and self-proclaimed geeks. Statum is a technically complex piece, integrating projections (including ‘live-streaming’ of video from cameras and phones) with audio and data from other sources (including an ‘accelerometer’ and heart-rate monitors). We came away marvelling at the integration of the circus and technology, which makes it a show worth seeing more than once (to catch all of the special details).
Another reason to book tickets for at least two shows is that it’s not all serious. There were many chuckles along the way, particularly as the audience participation is well-judged and often funny. The mini-competitions were a great way to share factual information, and to incorporate the different data points. And we certainly picked up a lot of random information on the way. Did you know that pigs can’t look up? That ‘now’ is an illusion? And.… well.. you’ll just have to see the Show.
After only an hour, Statum drew to a close to the sound of Superorganism’s Everybody Wants To Be Famous (excellent Audio/sound design by Mike Willmett). We realise that we are ‘staring at stars’: individual Flipside stars, who together have been “part of something bigger.”
“We see you,” Flipside. And we hope that Statum is the sellout it deserves to be.
Verdict: A Mesmerising integration of circus, data and video. See it while you can.
Reviewer: Catherine Lawrence