Performance review: 360 ALLSTARS, Arts Centre Melbourne

Urban circus delights with musical and world-class acts.

Give me circus, but make it street OK?

This aptly named team of performers are, yes, all stars and quite a number do seem to defy gravity in their acts. The hour-long show starts, ends and is carried along by unrelenting, frenetic bursts of energy that never palls. Fast and furious. All along, the heartbeat pulse of the drums and audiovisual sophistry keeps everyone – on and offstage– pumped.

The freewheeling DJ, Mister Monk, with his hip hop phat beats is situated on the right; the seemingly indefatigable drummer, Jordan, is positioned on a raised podium on the left, and the rest of the smallish area is left for the five other performers, who each have their own speciality. Quite a few are world-class and record-breaking experts at their particular act.

There are two breakdance boys, Jack and Alejandro, as well as a BMX riding master, Iñigo, a basketball maestro and Rowan on the cyr wheel. Each is given plenty of time to shine on their own, but the team also comes together in group collaborations and some even try out each other’s discipline.

The choreography, athleticism, balance, stamina and pure showmanship of all five in this urban circus is exhilarating to watch. Particularly entertaining is the dance-off between the two b-boys, calibrated as a retro video game (power moves!).

What is impressive about this production is how it caters equally to adults and children. I’ve never seen the Playhouse in the Arts Centre crammed with so many kids, from preschoolers onwards. Anyone who’s ever performed to the youth market knows how hard it is to sustain interest, but this tightly controlled gig manages to keep everyone in bright, saucer-eyed attention. (Warning though, the noise level may be a bit too much for the very little ones, so arm yourself with some earplugs just in case.)

Read: Musical review: Share House: The Musical, Arts Centre Melbourne

DJ Monk improvises with words gleaned from the audience; he’s witty and quick as a flash, utterly in tune with what’s going on around him. And his ALLSTARS troupe are equally adept at reading the room in terms of whipping up the crowd into a clapping, squealing whooping mass of delight.

They’re only here for a short time, so catch them spinning, head-standing, drumming, twisting and bouncing when you can.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, post-show, parents are greeted with the plea: ‘I wanna be like them when I grow up.’

Tickets: $28-$65

360 ALLSTARS will be performing at the Arts Centre Melbourne until 19 May 2024.

Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy