Brighton Festival Review: Circa: Sacre – Theatre Royal, Brighton

This UK premiere of Sacre brings 10 elite performers from Australian company Circa Contemporary Circus to Brighton’s Theatre Royal this week. This astounding show is an entirely new response to what we know as circus.

Comprising a stark monochrome staging with sudden and erratic flashes of light throughout (lighting design by Veronique Bennett), this is a dark, brooding and stark presence which bring us these athletic acrobatics in tight, toned and tense form. Unlike anything I’ve seen before, this performance verged at points on contemporary dance in its abstraction.

Accompanied by a post industrial soundtrack for the first part of the events, this brings a new composition by Paris based Phillipe Bachman.The bespoke wall of sound created for the company, perfectly echoes the frenetic human towers being created in myriad forms throughout the 65 minute performance for the Brighton Festival.

Playing to a packed house on its first night in the venue, the talented artists, who hail from across the globe move like quicksilver. Many of whom have been performing since children, the ease with which they leap and land is awe inspiring. Their moves only echoed by my aging knees in my small seat!

This must be the workout of the year and it shows, as the toned performers perform dextrous and agile acrobalance without cessation. The latter part of the production brings in a version of composer Stravinsky’s seminal ‘The Rite of Spring’.

Continuing with the simple costumes and staging, there is a energetic and focused build up as the agile actors perform ever wilder feats of virtuosity. This production from Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz exploring the interconnected nature of the state of humanity.

A break during the show would have helped to build the audience’s energy alongside that of this relentless show itself, but there is no doubt about the dexterity of the performers, or the inventiveness of the production. However, this is a profound and unique experience. By the end, the audience were on their feet applauding, so a job well done by this very polished company.

Circa Contemporary Circus (Australia) is one of the world’s leading performance companies, touring the world from its base in Brisbane, Australia, since 2004. This ensemble of exceptional, multi-skilled circus artists returns to Brighton Festival following hugely successful previous visits. Notably the unique graveyard promenade Depart (2017), Beyond (2015) and the heart-stopping How Like An Angel (2013).

Sacre is part of Brighton Festival 2022, running 7 – 29 May

Mon 23–Sat 28 May
Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 8pm
Wed 8.30pm, Sat 3pm

£15, £20, £25
Under 16’s half price
Under 26’s £17.50
Festival Standby £10
Members First Night  £17.50


This event is taking place in Theatre Royal Brighton, New Road, Brighton.


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