YOAH isn’t simply about the circus. It’s about the fusion of tradition and innovation, and how this can bleed into every part of a production: the music, dancing, lighting, visual effects, storytelling and, of course, performances.

The hour-long show follows Tsumugi Masui in the role of Yoah, a woman who looks to a dawning moon to try and find hope. She encounters the other performers on a journey of wonder and discovery – an arc that the audience is experiencing with her as the production unfolds.

This Australian premiere from Cirquework has a diverse and talented catalogue of circus acts. We see the breathtaking work of Anthony Weiss on the swing trapeze; the playful and awe-inspiring juggling act from Tomohiro Morita, Japan’s leading ball-juggling specialist; and the stunning aerial silks routine from Masui, at the climax of her powerful performance.

Yusaku Mochizuki, also the director of YOAH, performs a brilliant diabolo juggling routine that, with considered creative lighting, is mystifying.

In a gentle, spinetingling routine which demonstrates how all elements of the show work together seamlessly, Yuya Takatori builds a stack of chairs, six high, and then balances on top. Behind him opens a black and white stylised installation that replicates rain drops sending ripples into a body of water. Combined with the music and sound – which captures the delicate nature of raindrops – the act evolves and builds tension beautifully, and has the audience members holding their breath.

The performers are accompanied by a unique and captivating score. It is a synthesis of Japanese drums and electronic music, moving from pulsing songs to gentle dream-like ballads. All evoke a sense of drama that works wonderfully with the acrobatics.

The lighting complements the drama of the music. Blue and red, in particular, are used to create wonder and to draw our attention to interactions and pivotal moments. It is sleek, and as well-thought-out and choreographed as the acrobatics. Alongside the installations – which are largely attributed to Masui – YOAH is a layered, visually compelling performance.

Performers don’t always let on just how much they are enjoying themselves, but what makes this show even more endearing is seeing the artists come alive themselves, supporting and celebrating each other, and ultimately producing a sincere and joyful production about hope.

YOAH is at The Moa at Gluttony until March 10.

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

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