‘If You Build It’ // Anywhere Festival

‘If You Build It’ was resourceful.

Humans as ladders, unicycles, a stripping builder, a strong man, crazy stunts and wholesome energy was welcome at ‘If You Build It’ as part of Anywhere Festival. Originally scheduled to be shown at the Brisbane Tool Library, the season had to be moved to Vulcana Circus due to the recent Brisbane flooding. While not a traditional theatre space, the room offered all the tools necessary to present an impressive circus performance that wowed audiences.

Focusing on building a ‘circular economy’, the Brisbane Tool Library invites Brisbanites to borrow from a catalogue of over 1000 items but instead of books, you’re hiring flippers, lawn mowers and power drills. High Tide Circus incorporated a variety of items into their acts and presented an unexpected co-branded performance which fully embraced the spirit of Anywhere Festival.

Host Rhett Morrow juggled the performance and a few porcelain plates as well. Charming, quick witted and a talented circus performer to boot, Morrow tied all acts together and kept the fast-paced show moving. The five talented circus performers spread the breadth of the impressive art form from lyra, acro, hand balancing, juggling and a little strip tease thrown in there for good measure. All the acts incorporated unexpected props from the Brisbane Tool Library and brought comedy and oodles of personality to their specialities.

Darcie Rae wore flippers throughout her lyra act and replaced water for air. Rae was weightless and effortlessly moved on the suspended hoop. Rae also led one of the most unexpected items of the show, a squeaking chicken chorus to the tune of Sweet Caroline. The whole crowd was handed a chicken from a KFC bucket and instructed to squeak them on the chorus of the iconic tune. While it didn’t quite fit the builders theme of the show, it certainly showed that the Brisbane Tool Library has a bit of everything.

While every act was incredible, perhaps the most impressive was the partnering between Sam Ellis and Tia Morrow. Draw dropping acrobatics met with skilled comedy, their trust and and comradery shone through every flip and catch.

On their own, Morrow and Ellis were equally as impressive. Ellis showed his athleticism on the rola-bola where he stacked boards on top of eachother in a startlingly high tower. Despite a quick slip, Ellis quickly recovered and made the completed trick all the more impressive. Morrow shone in her hoop work and had the audience in raptures with her complex routine. Both artists had such stage presence which made their performances entertaining from all angles.

Every circus needs a strong man and the talents of Dan Gordon amazed. Handstands, excruciatingly slow chin ups and gravity defying shapes were just some of the items in Gordon’s repertoire.

‘If You Build It’ not only brought the talented circus crew through the Vulcana doors but a wholesome and encouraging crowd as well. While the cast was certainly doing all the legwork, the audience brought the atmosphere, happily whooping, gasping and encouraging the acts on stage. The space was not purpose built to be used as a theatre which removed the audience/cast separation and encouraged a spirit of comradery.

Anywhere Festival brings you to some wonderfully unexpected places and provides shared experiences with people you may not otherwise interact with. It shows that you don’t need a proscenium and tiered seating to create art, just a space and some bodies. High Tide Circus perfectly captured the spirit of Anywhere and created a unique piece of work which would be wonderful to see further developed in future. We hope this isn’t the last of ‘If You Build It’.

‘If You Build It’ performed for one show only at Vulcana Circus on May 15th, 2022. For more information visit the High Tide Circus website.

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