The body is a wonderful instrument.  That’s the beatific impression one is left with in The Return where physical endurance and calibration crazed motion will leave you slack-jawed.   This absorbing adrenalin rush plays the Bluma Appel Theatre until May 7.


Those Aussies are not exactly like the rest of us, are they?  Think about it for a moment—Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee?  Those are worlds away from the familiarity we’ve internalized with Bay Street money managers or Tomfoolery of small town interaction in TV’s Corner Gas.

Yet the Down Under geniuses at Circa sign off the Spotlight Australia event at Canadian Stage Company this week with a subtle message that you ain’t seen nothing yet until eyes are rested on its 7 acro-artists that contort their way into your heart with mesmerizing movement madness.

The Return is somewhere at the intersection where soul meets body, where classic meets modern.  It’s a spectacular display of towering strength where everything can go wrong but nothing does.

Creators thematically pitch the presentation as the hunger to return home as Greek mythology’s Ulysses reappears after years at war to scoop his beloved Penelope before tempting suitors beat him to the prize.  All of which is set to Baroque Opera and motion picture quality soundscaping to heighten the episodic tension.

However don’t be surprised if some of the intermittent scenery looks a bit like outtakes from The Walking Dead minus the flesh feasting.  Something so strong seizes the senses when it comes time for a breather after the limb lifting gratification behind this splendid circus delight.

While it’s been said that timing is a must and in securing an artful delicate balancing act is essential in creating a timeless piece, stunning equilibrium gives way to unimaginable skeletal elasticity in this tempo teased hybridization of theatre, dance, and acrobatics.

No shakes, no wobbles and never a grunt or groan when hoisting up a body (or two) equal in weight to their performer in elevation mode.  At times, you wonder how it’s possible that the flexible superheroes are not even appearing to exhale with their muscles contracting and expanding at full capacity.

The only thing missing from The Return is a disclaimer than audiences should not attempt these exercises at home higher than 12 inches off the ground to prevent risk of personal injury.   Trying it, though, sure looks like it would be lots of fun.


THE RETURN by Circa May 3-7, 2017 BLUMA APPEL THEATRE, 27 Front Street West, Toronto TICKETS $39.00 – $114.00 416-368-3110  CAST Nathan Boyle, Marty Evans, Nicole Faubert, Bridie Hooper, Nathan Knowles, Tod Kilby, Cecilia Martin DIRECTOR Yaron Lifshitz MUSIC by Monteverdi, Gant, Mahler, Pisador COMPOSER Quincy Grant OPERA SINGERS Kate Howden and Benedict Nelson MUSICIANS Pal Banda, Joe Bronstein, Natalie Muray-Beale, Ceciclia de Santa Maria LIGHTING & STAGE DESIGN Jason Ogan COSTUMES Libby McDonnell

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