Perth Fringe: Hard To Watch Circus


One by one a relatively ambiguous crowd walks into the Black Flamingo tent at the Pleasure Gardens in Northbridge, Perth. 

There is a sense of eeriness in the cool summer air, as the majority of the assembled onlookers begin to wonder if the theatrical performance, the Hard To Watch Circus, will live up to its name or not.

It’s the opening night of a sold-out show and as the 100+ onlookers begin to take their seats, a rather confusing scene is taking place center stage. 

An ensemble of Russian circus 'freaks' are frantically squabbling and barking orders at each other, trying to clean up what looks to be a crime scene.

After a few minutes of continuous bickering the hopeless circus 'freaks' get everything in order, and announce that their marvelous extravaganza is about to begin. Little does the crowd know what they are in for. 

The theatrical performance Hard To Watch Circus is a part of this years Fringe World, an annual arts festival held in Perth. The performance is a production from Perth theatre group Adobe Slats, a collective of budding actors, dancers and musicians.

Adobe Slats creative director Heather Jerrems is the mastermind behind the theatrical production, and says Fringe World is a great opportunity for amateur actors to get publicity.

“Being a part of Fringe definitely helps in getting exposure as performers”, she says. 

“It’s also great for Perth; the whole festival brings a vibrant atmosphere and also encourages people to come to the theatre who usually wouldn’t.”

The performers involved in the Hard To Watch Circus have only been rehearsing since January this year. There is no set script and the creative process was a collective effort based on trial and error. 

Richard Patterson-Hyde plays 'The Strong Man', a drunken and rather hopeless man of muscle. Patterson-Hyde says it has been satisfying watching the show and the characters slowly develop since rehearsals began earlier this year. 

“It’s been a rather busy and stressful couple of months rehearsing each night for four to five hours at a time”, he says.

“But having the show almost completely change from what it was when we first got together is great – especially now that we have performed the first show.”

Overall, even though the Hard To Watch Circus follows the story of a group of relatively talentless circus performers the actual acting is anything but.

All of the Adobe Slats actors involved are undoubtedly extremely talented entertainers. Their ability to mix comedy, dance, theatrics and song into one show of pure comedy is excellent to watch. 

To anyone within the Perth area, the Hard To Watch Circus is an unmissable experience. 

The show runs nightly from 9:15pm until Friday, February 20.

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