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Circus-art company The Dust Palace's new show will mesmerise – and surprise you

Dust Palace performers. Photos/Supplied.

Circus theatre company The Dust Palace’s new show, Human, is a mesmerising performance that showcases what the human body is capable of.

Even as you take your seat at Human, performers are already in the air, casually twisting about acrobatic frames as if that’s just what they do with their evenings. While you’re waiting for the show to begin – the lights haven’t yet dimmed and the audience is still chatting – you find out that it’s actually already started.

A few more performers enter, sparkling in their costumes, giggling between themselves and climbing over the equipment. One of them pauses just by my table to kick off her heels before running after her friends.

The performers are so good at immersing you in their world, you almost forget their careless and playful entrance is designed and rehearsed. I say ‘almost’ because once the show starts, there’s no question that the performers aren’t just dancers and acrobats – they’re full-on athletes.


The sheer spectacle of seeing another human spinning, contorting and leaping all at the same time, while also acting a subtly interwoven yet compelling story is staggering, but the costume, music, lighting and staging are all flawless and surprising.

Quite honestly I sat there a little dumbfounded.

It was so mesmerising I kept forgetting about Shane Cortese. Yes, that Shane Cortese – of Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, Westside and The Almighty Johnsons. My double-take at the programme upon seeing his name didn’t sufficiently prepare me for seeing him striding out in his black blazer and singing – actually, really damn well. 

And it wasn’t just his musical skills, as well as a soundtrack that had me wondering if they had a Spotify playlist I could follow. Even better, award-winning concert pianist Flavio Villani added perfectly to the atmosphere.

While these elements provide a perfect complement to the performers' sheer talent and athleticism, they’re  incredible acrobats and dancers who know what they are doing, without any hidden strings or tricks – and it’s for that reason I recommend you go and see Human. It's a performance you need to see.

See Human by The Dust Palace at Q Theatre, Auckland, 1-4 August 2018.