Image by Fringe Festival Perth
Reviewer: Manuel Cortes
When the winners of the 2020 Fringe World Circus Award announce a performance at the Heath Ledger Theatre, heads turn. The performers of Kinetica leave audiences stunned and in disbelief with Aria: Reprise, combining acrobatics, dance, theatre and live music into one exquisitely crafted and superbly-executed display.
First and foremost, Aria: Reprise is a feast for the senses. From fire eating to contortion, the visual spectacle is breathtaking. After having demonstrated acrobatic mastery over silks, hoop and trapeze, the performers go on to utilise a range of unconventional devices which, without fail, shocked and surprised the audience.
Kinetica achieves considerable originality through the integration of on-stage music with the visual elements of the performance. Violinist Katherine Azzam did not allow her instrument to restrict her movements as she performed breathtaking feats, both musical and acrobatic. Azzam maintained a powerful presence throughout the many acts in either an accompanying capacity, or indeed as the focal point. She convincingly adopted the lead role of this beautifully enigmatic performance.
Soprano Phoebe Tait’s versatile contributions similarly heightened the intensity of the other performers’ movements. Her rendition of Poulenc’s Les Chemins de l’amour, while perhaps impeded by unnecessary amplification, was nevertheless utterly captivating. In addition, to the two on-stage musicians, the sonic elements of the performance were well-suited with the visual displays. The performers flawlessly executed their movements in perfect time with audio events, revealing the considerable preparation that has gone into the performance.
Even if Aria: Reprise remained nothing more than a visual and sonic spectacle of shock and awe, the performance would still garner the highest of praise. However, this is not the case. Scenes are performed with a stunning degree of artistic sensitivity, and each succeeds in affecting the audience through both spectacle and raw emotion. The profoundly expressionist forces that penetrate each act create a powerful narrative that remains subtly perceptible throughout the show. As such, rather than a collection of visual delights, Aria Reprise effortlessly achieves a difficult balance between abstract expressionism and a coherent, accessible story. It is this depth of meaning behind the surface entertainment that propels Kinetica above and beyond, clearly executed in Aria: Reprise.