circaIn a Japanese Zen garden, researchers believe that the rocks are strategically placed so that in the empty spaces between the objects, the observer detects an image, without being aware of doing so. These detected images are unique to the viewer’s perspective, and can change depending on the location one views the garden from. Like a Zen garden, C!RCA’s The Space Between explores not just the apparent physical bodies of the performers, but the nothingness and everythingness of what exists in the space between the performers, each other and the theatre-in-the-round audience.  

C!RCA’s The Space Between is a physical collision between deceptively simple and amazingly skilful.  Performed by three highly skilled circus practitioners, (Darcy Grant, James Kingsford-Smith and Chelsea McGuffin) and directed by C!RCA Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, The Space Between focuses on the power of human contact and separation through the use of acrobatic and aerial circus acts. This multi-media production also combined graphics projected onto the floor, with a soundtrack of industrial noises and French love-songs, which accompanied the physical action of the performers.

Evocative, sensual and ambiguous, The Space Between is an open performance that invites audience interactivity. With such theatrical openness, the audience can truly enter the ‘spaces between’ and experience these voids for themselves. The space between the performers creates the relationships of the piece.

While The Space Between is not in anyway a narrative, it is interpretative. One recurring relationship appears as intense and dark yet has a sense of innocent naïve love. Another relationship is playful and domineering, while yet another is explorative and mystical. These tantalising snippets of connection with an idea or a feeling tumble over each other like three acrobats performing complex synchronised tricks, which funnily enough it is exactly that. The skill of the performers cannot be stressed enough. Supple, smooth, and arousing, much like the French language which accompanies it, moments such as the beautiful trapeze duet and the violent ‘stuck-in-the-mud’ gymnastic solo will remain with viewers for a long time. Witnessing Chelsea McGuffin lift a grown man into a standing position on her shoulders is inspiring, and the subtle humour that occurs during moments of broken expectations is refreshing.

However, it is noticeable that for much of the performance the tissue and the swing appear neglected. For at least the first thirty minutes of the performance these areas are ignored, and I was slightly impatient to see the performers use these spaces. But in essence these were just another space - a space that doesn’t need to be filled with a person to still create intrigue and power.

Sometimes I was uncertain if the performance suited theatre-in-the-round. There seemed to be a few obvious choices made, particularly when McGuffin performed a handkerchief solo, where she simply rotated slowly on the spot so that everyone would see her subtle hand movements.  However the relationship created by the space between McGuffin and her surrounding audience was certainly intriguing, if not entirely ‘theatrically’ successful.

The Space Between is not only captivating by its awe-inspiring physical feats, but also by it’s downplay of these feats in favour of exploring the relationship they produce. Take a step into this liminal space between theatre and circus and you won’t be disappointed. Beautiful and poignant, The Space Between certainly does credit to Australia’s new circus reputation.

Roundhouse Theatre Presents
the space between

Venue: Roundhouse Theatre
Dates: 28 March – 9 April; Preview - 27 March
Times: Mon, Tue & Wed 6.30pm (except opening night), Thu – Sat 8pm
Opening Night: Wed 28 March 8pm
Tickets: from $20.50 - bookings fees apply
Bookings: or 07 3007 8600

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