Circus Oz is not a reinvention of the big top, a la Cirque du Soleil. It is more of a traditional circus updated for modern times.
By Charles McEnerney
Circus Oz does a good job of mixing comedy, acrobatics, stunts, music, and aerialists. While there are no animals in the show, you hardly notice that those circus standards aren’t anywhere in the mix. “From the Ground Up” builds off the theme of a construction site, so many of the segments use this visual concept to inspire acrobatics or comedy sketches.
Circus Oz is not a reinvention of the big top, a la Cirque du Soleil. It is more of a traditional circus updated for modern times. The acrobatics are more dynamic than you might see at Ringling Bros or Big Apple Circus. The sense of humor is more sophisticated and more comfortable with the human body (reminding me of how prudish we are in the USA). The juggling and gymnastic skills lean on the approach of traditional circus acts, but push the derring-do envelope further and further.
I loved the fact that Circus Oz has a live band performing a wide array of music throughout and that many of the performers switched roles throughout the show, sometimes clowning, performing acrobats, or playing music. In that sense, it’s a true ensemble, each member of the troupe proving that his or her talents are many: no one is standing still for long.
I brought along my kids and they were maybe a little old for the show (my daughter is 13 and son is 10), but they both enjoyed many parts of it and I found them smiling despite their desire to think they were above it all given their pre-teen and teen ages. It’s hard not to smile at both the feats of acrobatics and the laughter that the troupe pulls off with panache.
Charles McEnerney has worked in the arts and entertainment industry for 25 years, including at HBO, WGBH, ArtsBoston, Seattle International Film Festival, MovieMaker magazine, and in film, TV and music production. He has written for MovieMaker, The Village Noize, and produced the music interview podcast Well-Rounded Radio for 10 years.