June 21, 2023

The Emperor’s New Clothes

In recent years Circa has expanded from their base of traditional theatre to include the more experimental which previously was relegated to Bats theatre; The Emperor's New Clothes is an example of why this was a great direction.

We're greeted by a woman in sensible black heels, white pants and a black blazer who thanks us for making this investment. On the walls hang many more pairs of white pants and black blazers. Will she don these throughout the performance? Something about her demeaner as she hails new comers makes me fear this might be one of those very rich spiritual gurus.

She addresses the audience with a salesperson patter and I'm confused, isn't this supposed to be a dance show? The unexpected continues and within the first five minutes she's naked. We are taken on a spoken (occasionally sung) and danced journey through the value of our being, each system, organ and sense precisely calculated. This is a confronting kind of economics, figuring out exactly what you're worth.

The timing is perfect, each move accompanied by live violin, keyboard and spoken monetary values. A body is a just a body, naked or clothed. Bare you see sweat form, muscles and tendons stretch. But not all things are easily accounted for and the show seems to lose focus towards the end, perhaps trying to do too many things at once. There is no grand end, just lights out and the audience pauses, uncertain if it's over.

Performances: 21 June–1 July (times vary)

Tickets: $38

CONTENT ADVISORY: nudity, strong language, sexual violence, economics.

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