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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Review: Backbone is (more) high-flying fun from Down Under

New breed of circus is at the nexus of profundity and whimsy

Last seen in Vancouver during the 2015 run of A Simple Space, the ten acrobats and two musicians on stage for Backbone have moved to the larger Vancouver Playhouse theatre space.

The move not only provides these athletes with more room to “play”, but also provides an opportunity for a larger audience to experience what this Aussie group has to offer. And when you consider you can still get tickets for just $30 (prices top out at a reasonable $69), it also means it won’t necessarily break the bank like it can when a certain Quebec company pulls into town with their big top.

As with its 2015 show, Gravity & Other Myths takes the new breed of circus to a whole new level. And where I dared audiences not to shed a few tears of joy as they watched the incredible feats being performed back then, it is a similar experience with Backbone.

In Backbone though, Gravity & Other Myths ups the ante with the addition of live original music from/by Shenton Gregory, Elliot Zoerner, and Christopher Neale, plus a dazzling light show from Geoff Cobham. Adding an almost ethereal quality, the music and lighting adds a percussive underscore as this group perform feats of strength and throw each other around like rag dolls.

With all of its acrobatic virtuosity, Backbone also works on a more cerebral front. It is within this nexus of the profound and the whimsical where Backbone really shines.

Vancouver audiences only have a couple of more opportunities to witness Backbone. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Backbone continues at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St, Vancouver) until November 4. Visit for tickets and information.

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