Forget big tents, ringmasters and animals. Circus Oz is a rock 'n' roll, animal free circus for the whole family, and it's coming to UCLA’s Royce Hall for five performances Feb. 7-9.
The madcap, gravity-defying Australian performers haven’t been to Los Angeles since 1984 when they performed at UCLA as part of the Summer Olympics festivities.
The Melbourne-based troupe (or "mob" as they like to call themselves), formed in 1978 and have been touring the world to wild acclaim ever since. They’re finally back in L.A. thanks to the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA with their new show, “From the Ground Up.”
According to a release from the company, attendees should expect “two hours of breathtaking agility, death-defying stunts, awe-inspiring acrobatic performances, irreverent comedy and a spectacular live band.”
The Circus Oz collaborators say their ideas and inspiration come from all directions, noting, “Sometimes it’s like herding cats… luckily, for the most part, they are a bloody lovely bunch of cats.”
As to the title of their latest show, “From the Ground Up," Circus Oz says,
Making a Circus Oz show is a bit like building a big, spectacular, stunt-filled, but carefully managed absurd building, populated by eccentrics... That’s partly why we called the show From The Ground Up, inspiration for the beams and scaffolding in the show. We also think this show is about building culture from the ground up, from the land up, and whose land is this anyway?
But Circus Oz isn’t just here to entertain. Its also has a lot to say.
The team says,
The politics of Circus Oz has always been expressed in our shows. Sometimes in our words and actions, sometimes in the causes we support, like the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. For us the most fundamental politics are those of celebration, inclusion and diversity.
The ensemble ranges from First Australians to those who’ve just arrived, from locals to immigrants, from straight to queer, from jazz musicians to baton-twirlers, old fellas and young fellas. From death-defying explosive tumblers to innovative percussionists. Not a homogenized purée, but a chunky fruit salad. This is the kind of Australia we want to live in. A future that has everyone in it. Including you.
Evening shows at Royce Hall are 8 p.m. Feb. 7-9, plus matinee performances at 2 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 Tickets ($15-$65) are available now via cap.ucla.edu, Ticketmaster or at the UCLA Central Ticket Office.