Friday, 8 November 2019

Invisible Things - Circus Review

What: Invisible Things
When: 7 - 10 November 2019
Where: Melba Spiegeltent
Created and performed by: Alex Mizzen
Technical design by: Michael Maggs
Sound design by: Anna Whitaker
Alex Mizzen - photo by Krystal Beazley
Coming to Melbourne audiences after a 2018 season at The Powerhouse in Brisbane in 2018, the Sidesault experimental circus festival brings Invisible Things to The Melba Spiegeltent. A combination of circus, dance and performance art, Alex Mizzen takes us on a journey of investigation into her inner world and has us questioning our own 'Little Boxes' too.

Recovering from injury, Mizzen took a look at herself and her life through the writings in her journal. What she saw only she can know, but the investigations and discoveries and revelations she experiences in Invisible Things is something we can all understand - assuming you are willing to look at yourself rather than the rest of the world for a change...

Mizzen begins in a plastic wrapped cube. Dense smoke fills her space making her only visible when she is near the edges, but when she is seen Mizzen is wearing a long, formal gown and is tied up in the ends of aerial silks.

She moves around, finding her self confined by the box and the knots in the silks. Unwinding her way out of the ribbon is the first steps towards her journey of self-knowing.

Layers peel away as the smoke starts to clear. The dress gives way layer by layer, revealing more of Mizzen's body while lights in the space reveal more and more secrets held in this little room she finds herself in.

There are boxes within her big box and she opens them, finding tools to explore herself even further. They also allow her to hide away the items from the past which have kept her hidden and entangled.

Strength is found in the contortions of hand balancing. A skipping rope builds stamina and, when used as a whip, begins to show us the fragility of this cage/cube Mizzen finds herself confined in.

The whole journey escalates but does not stop with the exultation of fresh air. Once freed of her confines, the big surprise is what happens when faced with the choice to leave or return. At this point I will say Mizzen is an aerial artist, but I will leave you to discover how Mizzen explodes into her true universe.

Invisible Things is visually stunning and the lighting (Maggs) and sound (Whitaker) work powerfully to tell the story and expose Mizzen's journey - literally full of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and troughs! The sound pulses and throbs and flows just as Mizzen dances, and undulates and explodes inside herself.

The lighting reveals invisible writings which could be a code, could be rambling, could be a breakdown of 'form' and 'order' - kind of like Sidesault perhaps... In fact Invisible Things may be the perfect allegory for the Sidesault festival!

Invisible Things is supposedly a promenade although in truth you don't need to move around because Mizzen performs in the round. The cube does break free of it's moorings, but the performance space is large and the audience tended to stay on the outer edges.

I did wonder if we were missing something by not getting up close and personal - something visceral perhaps? Oh, and Circus Oz is committed to accessibility so if you use a mobility device you can use it with complete freedom (I took my scooter in and it was fine).

Invisible Things is as much a work of art as it is a visceral and exciting performance. Join Mizzen on her journey and you may just discover an urge to take one of your own when you leave.

5 Stars



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