Techno Circus.

Festivals, Stage

Technocircus review (OzAsia Festival, Adelaide)

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I am not really sure what video-mapping technology is, but the smart and snappy Japanese mime-and-image group, SIRO-A certainly make it look like fun.

The four performers – Yuki Inoue, Keisuke Kawashima, Daiki Maeda and Yoheai Iwai – dressed like astronauts in their white jumpsuits, greet the audience as they arrive. Beckoning them to the stage for selfies, they get dozens of kids, parents, people of all shapes and ages to queue up and pose in various jaunty ways as they compile a digital trove for later use.

The show is a non-stop aural and visual blast. The J-pop soundtrack buzzes and bops with full techno urgency as the cascading visual projections morph and melt with astonishing, seamless ease. The performers caper and dance like clowning beat poppets – they could be 21st century versions of The Beatles circa A Hard Day’s Night. Except the retro monochrome constantly bleeds into saturations of dense colour as their routines become exponentially more complex.

Director Yuji Hishinuma has brought the many elements of this ambitious work into a marvellously fluid unity.

The performers make whoopee with stacks of boxes which become Rubix cubes, or magically register letters – B-O-X , BALL. And from a simple prank of moving a B or an X from one white box square to another, the letters start to ricochet left and right, up and down, out of the projection surface altogether and into the hands of the live performers. The charm of the work is that the interaction is not only technically perfectly synchronised but that it primarily focuses on the performers and their endearing comedy.

Director Yuji Hishinuma has brought the many elements of this ambitious work into a marvellously fluid unity. Visual art director Daichi Norikane uses witty retro effects while sound programmer Hiroyuki Iwai finds every beat, bump and squelch to animate the visual pranks. The choreography – Marx Brothers, Monkees, Hip Hop and Jazzercise – is the work of performers Yuki Onoue and Daiki Maeda who have the moves down to the last toe tap.

Techno Circus is a visual delight where the fun stays ahead of the technology. And when, for the finale, the squiggly black and white animation of the globe dissolves into a torrent of images of the audience themselves, the fun house mirror is complete. For all the futuristic bells and whistles this is old-fashioned circus after all.

Techno Circus played the Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, as part of OzAsia Festival 2019.

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