The exceptional, extravagant and extraordinary cirque performers from The Dust Palace are in rock 'n' roll cabaret mode at Q Theatre this week, shimmering in sequins and sparkling with consummate artistry.

Human, its latest production, features gravity defying and quite astonishing feats — everything from chair stacking to cloud swing, hoops and contortions to silks and straps, trapeze and fire breathing which require strength, agility and prowess.

The performers are impressive in their skimpy, sparkly clothing — bodies toned to perfection, every movement deftly delivered in requisite detail with impeccable timing.

Even more impressive are the panache and polish, and often the sheer rapidity, with which everything is delivered, along with the confidence which comes from years of development and close working together.


Solo and duo acts often have moments that defy possibility. These clearly involve a high level of risk, despite the apparently effortless delivery. Rochelle Mangan shimmies, spirals and twines herself around a rotating and free-hanging aerial pole, intricately intertwining her body with that of partner Jay Clement on duo trapeze and Eve Gordon on duo lyra.

Rosita Hendry shifts position in such a quicksilver fashion that it's hard to follow how she does it, particularly in impossible-seeming horizontal manoeuvres on Cyr wheel and corde lisse — comprising audience favourites.

Geoff Gilson seems to be everywhere, very much the man of the moment, and seems unflappable no matter what he is doing, from partnering feats with Gordon to smoothly sensuous nose-to-nose Latin dancing with Ariel Cronin.

Celebratory ensemble sequences open and close the show, but most impressive is a slow adagio interlude in which Gordon is passed around by the company's Gilson, Clement, Harry Adams, Reid McGowan and Bethany St John; tossed, lifted, laid out and perched impossibly on their bodies, as well as walking on their hands and heads for an extended period.

It also includes musical interludes and occasional accompaniment from guest guitarist Kevin Gao, pianist Flavio Villani and roving singer Shane Cortese.

What: The Dust Palace — Human
Where & when: Rangatira at Q Theatre, until Saturday
Reviewed by: Raewyn Whyte