The Theatre Royal Brighton was something else: the exquisitely decorated ceiling that hung above us seemed to be a high as the sky itself, with the three layers of balconies creating a majesty only seen in cathedrals. With every seat seemingly filled, the atmosphere was that of heightened anticipation of what was to come. Not much was known about Driftwood, the new performance from Brisbane-based circus group Casus. Only rumours and a poster that depicted the physically impossible.
A single lamp hung on the stage, slowly becoming more and more shrouded in smoke emitting ominously from stage right. As the lights went dimmed, the performers emerged and formed a ritualistic circle around the lamp. Despite the serious setting, the cast (two females, three males) were all smiling and clearly feeding off the crowd’s contagious energy.
All the stunts that followed were death defying, original and – most importantly- nail bitingly engaging. The performers took turns doing solo routines as well as routines where they were all involved. None were a disappointment, each leaving our jaws firmly on the floor.
In one routine, one of the male members of Casus did a headstand on a trapeze, hands and feet extended, while being swung from side to side by his fellow performers. This could only be described as a ridiculous display of skill and co-operation. The audience showed their support with gasps and applause throughout.
One of the female members did a solo routine with a hoop that hung high above the stage, demonstrating superb ability to control her movements and manipulate the hoop. She would hand from the hoop by just her feet, capturing our undivided attention. She would then climb inside, and proceed to spin so quickly that her body was merely a blur. It was obvious from routines such as this that the calibre of talent as shown during Driftwood was truly top shelf.
A main proponent of what made this performance of Casus’ Driftwood such a successful event in the Brighton Festival was that it was not just any circus act. Instead, stunts were performance that had not been seen anywhere else and made their routines personable and supremely unbelievable. The proof of their exceptional show was is in the pudding. The members of Casus came out to a standing ovation three times at the end, emotions running high. You’d be crazy to miss Driftwood, catch a performance of it before it finishes!