Review: Casus Circus Present Driftwood – Underbelly Festival until 4th June



Review by Caroline Hanks-Farmer

Casus originate from Brisbane Australia, a contemporary circus renowned for creating delicately human circus. Following on from the international sensation of their premier work Knee Deep, Driftwood will continue to challenge our thoughts on power, gender specific strength and beauty of human performance.

The Underbelly Festival is celebrating its 9th year on the Southbank and creates a Festival feeling incorporating many genres of performance artistes. This includes circus, comedy, burlesque and touring shows. The summer equivalent of London Wonderground, Underbelly runs from May to September. It has sites in London, Edinburgh and Hong Kong. Book tickets for the London festival   HERE Driftwood

A scene from Driftwood by Casus @ Underbelly, Southbank.
©Tristram Kenton

The Review

I don’t profess to have any knowledge of circus and the technicalities in its performance. However what I do have is bags of passion for the artistry of live performers and their respective art forms from a visual point of view. This show is mesmerising and breathtaking in its sheer wonderment of what these performers are able to do with their human bodies. In this age-old art form of entertainment, where it is simply not acceptable to use animals, the contemporary version of circus should be welcomed and embraced. Thankfully it is on the shoulders of companies such as Casus to demonstrate how powerful this can be and they do so with such a magnitude of flare, that it is a triumph.

No gimmicks, no costumes or make-up just an ability to create the impossible with the human body. The performers are Johnny Brown, Jon Bonaventura, Shannon Vitali, Sarah McDougall and David Trappes. We see dance, tumbling, aerialists, rope climbing, contortionists, acrobatics and hula hooping, all deftly performed in a mesmerising and captivating way. Some feats were truly breathtaking and jaw-dropping in equal measures.

What I particularly liked was the fact that it proved something I was told when partnered with a professional dancer in my days of performing “anyone can lift anyone”. Size is irrelevant and gender for that matter too. The immense strength shown by particularly Sarah McDougall, was simply mind-blowing to watch. And challenges anyone’s thoughts of women being the “physically weaker” sex. Driftwood

A scene from Driftwood by Casus @ Underbelly, Southbank. ©Tristram Kenton

In Summary

Why not try something which challenges your thought processes, with no gimmicks just an age-old performance spectacle which has a fresh modern contemporary take. Be prepared to be bewildered, thrilled, mesmerised and truly wonder at its magnificent execution.

Casus Circus have once again brought us something very special and it’s in the Spiegeltent at the Underbelly Festival on the Southbank.

An interview with some of Casus Circus will follow shortly.

Check it out now and Book tickets for Driftwood HERE!