Bringing in the circus duo Acrojou from the UK was something that I had been looking forward to. However, because of the setting in which the performance was held, much of its impact has been lost on the audience.
The Wheel House is a German wheel act that illustrates the daily life and struggles of two lone survivors in a post apocalyptic world. Their narrative performance works best in an open, expansive space, which is something that lacked during their show in the Night Festival. Murmurs from the crowd about how they don't understand the piece floated in the air, which is a waste for a storyline that covers the intimate themes of survival and love.
The act itself did have a few 'wow' moments. When the duo had a scene where they were scouting out for supplies, they used a rope to play around with the negative spaces in their wheel house, and portrayed a comical struggle to get each other back inside the house against the imaginary sandstorm.
In another scene, one of them was lost out in the open. Her face, as she looks outwards trying to find the wheel house, was an arresting moment in the performance. But you would have to be up close to feel the projection from the performer, as the crowd, while creating a casual atmosphere, did get in the way of watching the act effectively.
The act would have done so well on its own due to its strong concept, but its potential just wasn't realised in the Night Festival.