August 1–5, 2007
Since the company was founded in 1978 Circus Oz has performed in 26 different countries, across five continents to over two million people. They have broken box office records at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and represented Australia at scores of international festivals. They have performed on 42nd Street, at the Tivoli Gardens, in a refugee camp in the West Bank, in indigenous communities in the Australian desert and in a glass opera house in the Brazilian rainforest. Along the way they have translated parts of the show into scores of languages from Hindi and Japanese to Danish.
In the mid-1980s new contemporary circus and physical theatre troupes began to appear across the world, in the wake of Circus Oz. It was at this time that Circus Oz itself underwent a major skills development phase through intensive training with acrobats from China's Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe. Many of the skills learnt over the years from the Chinese, such as pole-climbing and hula-hoop, continue to flavour the show, albeit reinterpreted and presented in a distinctly Circus Oz style. Only one of the founding members still performs with the company, and yet, as new waves of people have joined Circus Oz over the years, they have embraced the company's co-operative style and philosophy and made it their own.
The overall tenor of the performance has remained consistent over the years. There are usually eleven to thirteen performers (normally with at least two specialised musicians) who present an intimate spectacle of unrelenting energy, humour, multi-skill playing, surreal imagery, grace and strength, fully integrated with a live and original musical score. Circus Oz continues at the forefront of international contemporary circus. Its performances today are as distinctive and dynamic as its touring program - the recent critically-acclaimed sell-out season on Broadway being followed by a successful tour of small Australian regional towns. The Circus Oz show is continuously revitalised with the injection of new ideas, skills and people.
Circus Oz never fails to raise the roof when it comes to town. And the performers' latest foray will please family audiences, with an array of high-flying acts that carry on the ethos of highly animated circus without animals. It is the energy and knockabout style of Circus Oz's performers that sets it apart from many of the other touring troupes. Their connection with the crowd, ability to appeal to all ages and world-class acts make them a must.
Adelaide - The Sunday Mail; Defying Gravity Tour 2006
The performance is greeted with near continuous euphoria and unabated applause. In fact, there's almost nothing left to add to the hyperbole about a show that kept even young toddlers shrieking with delight well past their bedtime. The advice to 'bend over backwards to get a ticket' still very much applies.
The Mail on Sunday, London 2005