61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes thrills Wollongong

Nathan Boyle, Jessica Connell and Duncan West of the Circa company mix circus, theatre and dance. Pictures: SYLVIA LIBER

Nathan Boyle, Jessica Connell and Duncan West of the Circa company mix circus, theatre and dance. Pictures: SYLVIA LIBER

Value for money is something the Circa circus performance group can boast about, and they have the numbers to prove it.

Their clock-challenging 61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes premiered on Wednesday night at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, part of the Circa "mini-festival" of circus performances, and does exactly what it says on the label: 61 high-flying, death-defying, awe-inspiring circus tricks in just one hour.

"We have a digital clock on stage facing the audience, and it does get quite tense towards the end," associate director Ben Knapton said. "Last time we finished with just 3.7 seconds to spare."

With acts including acrobatics and handstands, hula-hooping and chopping a watermelon on someone's stomach with a razor-sharp knife, 61 Circus Acts is a full buffet of performance.

It is just one-third of the Circa extravaganza, however. Cabaret performance Wunderkammer and ensemble show of theatre and dance S round out the five-day mini-festival, which began on Wednesday.

"This is the first time we've been asked to do an event like this over a few days," Knapton said.

The cast have been working with Illawarra company Circus Monoxide to help produce a 20-minute curtain-raiser act to perform before the main shows begin.

S plays on Friday and Sunday, while Saturday will host Wunderkammer in the afternoon and 61 Circus Acts in the evening.

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