Australian circus Casus makes a welcome return with an outstanding follow up to Knee Deep
Whenever a new company storms the Fringe with a hit show, its follow up is always a bit of a litmus test. In Casus' case – after a three-year gap following Knee Deep – the five-strong circus troupe has come back better than ever.
Driftwood feels less thematic than Knee Deep – is the driftwood of the title physical flotsam and jetsam or shifting relationships? – but the choreography is more intricate and imaginative, and the group has increased in confidence without losing any of the curiosity and dreamlike experimentation which sets their tone differently to the sleek, ironic one of fellow Aussies Circa. Still they continue to test the aesthetic, gravitational and muscular limits of the body and the results are mesmerising.
There is such kindness, cooperation, flexibility and creativity in the group, whether they are forming a churning half wheel on stage for performers to leap over, a teasing duet between husbands Jesse Scott and Lachlan McAulay or in the case of Kali Retallack and Abbey Church making beautiful four-legged stars on doubles trapeze.
Props are used sparsely and never tricksily. Scott swings, pendulum-like, on his head, on a trapeze, like he is marking out the decreasing time of a moment that can never last. Retallack contorts into extraordinary poses on a hoop, and perhaps one of the most fascinating segments sees Natano Fa'anana and Retallack team up in a Samoan dance, his nuanced graceful movements echoed by her muscular contemporary form.
The finale is outrageously impressive, while remaining soaked in muted, ethereal beauty. This is circus that makes your lungs seize, that makes you want to jump to your feet: circus that makes you glad you are there in the moment watching it and not anywhere else. Bravo Casus.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 28 Aug (not 10, 15, 22), 3.30pm, £13–£15 (£12–£13).