Chaotic fun packs a physical punch

19:00, Feb 22 2013
 Jessica Judge
ACROBATIC ANTICS: Jessica Judge performs for the crowd.

Slapstick, the odd Christmas cracker groaner, a bit o' boogie, plenty of juggling, aerial rope antics, human trapezes, tumbling, and "the flying picnic table of (almost) certain death"; Campground Chaos it might be called, but the Fuse Circus show on for the next two days in the Esplanade delivers a finely-tuned, hugely physical, wow-factor performance.

Beneath the high gantry with its ropes and pulleys, the five-member troupe make easy and entertaining work of their intensive juggling and acrobatic routines.

"It's a celebration of Kiwiana inspired by a traditional Kiwi summer camping holiday," explains Tom Beauchamp, who established Fuse Circus eight years ago.

Acrobat Zach Washer bends over backwards supporting Jessica Judge
Hanging tough: Acrobat Zach Washer bends over backwards supporting Jessica Judge during the opening performance of the Fuse Circus show Campground Chaos in the Esplanade.

"It's a contemporary circus - that's no animals - combining dance, acrobatics, and comedy. We've been on the road with it this year for two-and-a-half months now, up and down the country."

Beauchamp who has a masters degree in directing from Toi Whakaari, plays a grumpy campground manager dealing with a beer-drinking, loud rock music-loving bogan, a basketball juggling sports geek, a mischievous tui, and an attractive female German tourist.

Along with "the flying picnic table of (almost) certain death", the stage set includes the Southern Hemisphere's tallest long drop, and everything anyone would need for having a mid-air barbecue.


Fuse Circus has visited the city once before. Esplanade Day crowds may remember the troupe from three years ago, when it performed a similarly styled show called Navigators.

Beauchamp enjoys a family connection with Palmerston North.

His elder brother William, aka George St's "roast nut man", and his elderly mother both live in town and are coming to see tonight's show.

"Saturday night's performance could end up being a bit of a family affair," the showman said.

Manawatu Standard