Time in Space Circus are a young South Aussie circus troupe with previous accolades for their debut Nonstop at last year's Fringe. Their second show The Displaced seems likely to receive similar applause if Sunday night's riotous reception was anything to go by.
Time in Space are a crew of seven performers (Josh Croall, Mark Longo, Hamish McCourty, Margo Mansfield, Dylan Phillips, Jordan Hart and Amanda Lee) with a great range of tumblers, jugglers, trapeze artists, hand balancers and all-around gymnasts – four of the troupe coming from the South Australian Circus Centre's Performance Troupe and Emerging Artist Program.
The acts are creatively woven into the concept of the performance, by their own words "convey[ing] the acrobats contrasting personalities through individual expression, movement and exploration." The Displaced is sometimes discordant, then harmonic, an effect that is emphasised by the amazing live/recorded score by personal MVP, Hamish McCourty. The most compelling aspects of the show are the abstract and entirely mute manner in which the acts are staged. There are motifs of acrobatic movements that echo all through the acts, and even the comedic sections have a deliberate rhythm to them, cleverly set by that electro/classical score. Time in Space invite the audience to "correlate their emotions and thoughts to the performers movements" and interpret a greater narrative from the show. I chose to envision an absurdist sci-fi with popping n' locking androids on their throne of wires, trapeze contortionist bots afraid of being left alone, and movements that felt like they were part of a greater sequence of some mighty machine; but really just a bunch of robot BFF's conducted by a charmingly insane scientist-musician singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
The Displaced is a hand-crafted kind of circus act. The tumbling shows how well the performers know their and each other's movements, the assisted tumbling climax moves with almost mathematical grace through the music's progression, and the restrained dramatic choices show a deliberate attention to human movement and thematic patterns, and it has one of the best scores I've ever heard.
Also, any circus act that has a man playing Chopin while another man balances upside-down on his head deserves that standing ovation.