The show has “crowd-pleaser” stamped all over, but the international cast turns the big-top format on its head. The traditional circus unicyclist has replaced with BMX tricks; juggling with basketball freestyling, and acrobatics with breakdancing.
360 Allstars opens by introducing all seven performers, revealing elements of their various skills – and it’s high-octane stuff.
Australia’s Rhys Miller captivated with the roué cyr (acrobatic wheel), while Hungarian BMX Flatlander champion Peter Sore’s tricks were extra impressive given the confined stage space he had to work with. American “Basketball Man” Rashaun Daniels was the standout crowd favourite; his easy physical comedy had the audience hooting and cheering.
Bboys Kareem and Leerock, who hail from America and New Zealand respectively, hyped the crowd with their iconic ’90s moves as they battled it out computer-game-style.
The highlight for me was the incredible soundtrack by loop artist Sam Perry and award-winning musician Gene Paterson, who expertly loop live vocals to produce a music track using nothing but the voice. Perry demonstrated this using visuals on surround screens – an effective way to illustrate the complexity of live beatboxing. The duo worked together so flawlessly that without this the audience might have thought they were merely embellishing pre-recorded music.
Paterson, who went on to play the drums with one hand and the keyboard with the other, really is a musical octopus, as the four-year-old next to me astutely commented.
The 360 Allstars staging is unpretentious, giving the performance the vibe of hanging out with your freakishly talented friends. The hip-hop styling of the show also felt far more authentic than this reviewer expected.
It would add interest to include at least one or two female performers in this all-male preserve, but the show is definitely a unique take on the circus concept – no easy feat in a festival where circus has become so popular.
360 Allstars deserved the standing ovation they received from the small but extremely appreciative audience on opening night.
360 Allstars is showing at Panama Club in the Royal Croquet Club until March 19.