By Catherine Lawrence
Creative Futures Photography
Flipside Circus’ From Little Things celebrates the strength and beauty of the circus community in three ‘chapters,’ with a journey that starts with learning skills, moves to creating shows, and ends with performing new works. I use the word ‘ends’ with caution, as this show also reminds audiences that this process is an ongoing journey: students become trainers and co-creators, and the experienced international stars mentor & build the next generation of performers and creators.
Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly’s 1991 protest song, “From Little Things Big Things Grow,” is a well-known Australian song that is often referred to by the abbreviated title of ‘From Little Things.’ It’s a great choice for the title of the first show to be performed at Flipside Circus’ new home. From Little Things is a powerful demonstration of how learning the smallest of skills leads to the creation of the biggest shows and—in this particular case—how Queensland’s largest youth arts organisation has also brought together a community of supporters to build the most amazing new Brisbane Circus Centre. I cannot think of a better way in which to inaugurate and celebrate this fantastic new training and performance space than by seeing From Little Things—co-created by Flipside Circus and Casus Creations (Director/Creators: Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay [Casus Creations], and Amy Stuart [Head Trainer, Flipside Circus]).
From Little Things is a compelling reminder that the skills learned in ‘circus school’ are not only about how to juggle, use a hula hoop, tumble, perform the most amazing jumps and lifts, or work on ropes, silks and trapeze. As the Flipside Circus Performance Troupe also demonstrates, circus skills include learning trust, respect, discipline, safety, professionalism, communication, and creative skills that are all important building blocks for life. Congratulations to the more senior members of the team (Creators/Performers Oscar Morris, Izzy Lawton, and Mia Hughes) and to all members of the Flipside Circus Performance Troupe, who are acknowledged as co-creators of this new work (Aurora Bennett-Godde, Eden Vann, Indra Garvey, Isla Fletcher, Jedda Bell, Jordan Eriksen, Lauren Aisthorpe, Lucy Hunterland, Luke Whitefield, Meg Barber, Rachel Robinson, Samantha Giles, Teleah Richardson, Riley Shearer, and Zebedee Davies).
Just over 18 months ago, Flipside Circus’ step-ups crew performed The Show Must Go On at their temporary pop-up training space, raising much-needed funds for the construction of Flipside Circus’s new home. The team has done an amazing job to now be in its new building, to develop new work, and to run classes building on the skills of some exceptional students (including some students who have now ‘stepped up’ to be members of the Flipside Performance Troupe). Flipside Circus now has a fantastic home in which to teach circus skills, and empower young people to co-create shows that tell their own stories. And what fantastic stories they are.
From Little Things is a whirlwind of circus. The ‘first act’ reminds us of the youth of the performance team as they play, chatter and begin to practice new skills. And by the third act it is difficult to remember that audience members are applauding a performance where most of those on stage are under 18.
Just when I thought the artists could not impress any more they kept us enthralled with even more amazing moves, lifts, tumbles, jumps, and towers. The work on the silks, trapeze and chairs was superb, the various jumps and tumbles were sky-high, and the balance and towers just kept pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The chance to see this marvellous new space is alone worth the ticket price, but this show not only showcases the fantastic Flipside performers…. it also includes many of Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay’s signature moves (headstand trapeze, double handstands on impossibly balanced chairs, and many amazing lifts, tower walks, and turns). The Flipside Circus students are so fortunate to be able to learn from, and work with, Casus Creations, ensuring that the quality of this new work, and of the multi-generational skills on display is often breath-taking.
Such works do not take place without a lot of very hard work behind the scenes. A particular shout-out to Robert Kronk (Dramaturg/Creator) and to Josh McIntosh (Set and Costume Designer) as I just loved the set and ways in which the space came to life and worked so well in the telling of the story. Congratulations also to Alex Weckes-Huck (Creator, Trainer & Rigger), Geoff Squire (Lighting Designer), Freddy Komp (Stage Manager), Kelsey Booth (Associate Artist), and Gabriela Gallardo (Producer).
Verdict: An impressive demonstration of intergenerational storytelling, communicated with the display of stunning circus skills. The first weekend sold out very quickly, so if you are thinking of buying tickets I recommend booking now. You really don’t want to miss this one. And, if you can, go more than once; this is a spectacle, and show, that is worth seeing again.
Image Credit: Creative Futures Photography