Review: Apocrifu @ State Theatre Centre

Apocrifu_15A_0229 Apocrifu - (c) Herman Sorgeloos

Review: Apocrifu @ State Theatre Centre


Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre


Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre

Review: Circus Freak Show @ Circus Theatre, Perth Cultural Culture

Zap Circus’ Circus Freak Show, on Valentine’s Day, turned Fringe World’s Circus Theatre into a gothic, visceral ballerina music box. Endless smoke machine puffs and sonic chanting brought the audience into the weird and wacky minds of Perth performers Rusty and Tarabelle. Stepping out in Harley Quinn-esque attire, the two set the tone. Describing the differences between stunts and tricks, they saw fit to “juxtapose the playful nature of circus”.

939337_origMake no mistake, a visceral circus and sideshow experience and NOT a magic show.The seceding hour bent the laws of physics, warped the mind, and twisted each audience member’s stomach. Rusty, sporting a bright, red mohawk, kicked off proceedings with machete juggling mayhem. The laid-back performer off-set opening-night nerves, launching into witty repartee and kooky puns. Walking over a terrified audience member, a blindfolded Rusty juggled three machetes with flawless precision.

Rusty and Tarabelle, switching from charming performers to ominous hosts, added to the alluring sideshow atmosphere and darkly slick sense of humour. Amped up by a thumping electronica/rock score, Tarabelle’s 10 LED-hula hoop routine highlighted the performer’s undeniable core strength and creativity. Rusty upped the ante, wowing many crowd members and disturbing others by hammering a nail into his nose. As it was pulled out by a concerned audience member, the artist’s pithy, risqué comments alleviated the tension.

Rusty and Tarabelle poked fun at their own thesis, weaving light-hearted tricks (balancing brooms, pretending to swallow balloons, making objects disappear etc.) with solid comic timing. The contortion routine showcased the pair’s extraordinary acrobatic skills and cooperation. Despite slight slip-ups, the two leaped on and over one another seamlessly. Tarabelle delivered the show’s standout routine, fitting the herself through a hoop and tennis racquet before bending over backwards into a glass box.

Circus Freak Show’s climax took the routine to new, unpredictable heights. Rusty, lowering his back into a vicious-looking bed of nails, waited tentatively as Tarabelle gained enough balance to stand on top of him. Covered in puncture wounds, Rusty sprung to his feet with a beaming smile for the show’s final act. Reiterating the stunts-are-100%-real mantra, the pair concluded their bewildering performance with an intensifying fire-eating routine.

Unphased by dangerous feats, the pair proved the difference between true stunt-work and magic. Circus Freak Show is a jaw-dropping, fascinating Fringe spectacular not for the faint-hearted.

Photo credit: Wayrehouse Photographics

Theatre Review: Zwai @ The Big Top, The Pleasure Garden

Zwai, part of Fringe World’s impressive array of circus productions, is one of the festival’s stand out events on the calendar. E1NZ, composed by performers Esther and Jonas Slanzi, bring their extraordinary new show to Perth audiences for the next few nights.

JonasEstherSlanziOn a sweltering Sunday night, the Big Top was a hefty buzz with anticipation over one of the festival’s most-anticipated circus experiences. As the lights dimmed, both performers immediately embodied their characters. The two characters duel over freedom of expression, fighting on another to escape their limited surroundings.

The narrative is essential to Zwai’s emotional, physical, and sensory auras. It is relatively simple, with two characters feuding endlessly over space. The plot, like circus performance itself, focuses on how multiple beings come together – finding literal and figuratively stability within unique environments. From the blissful opening sequence, the performance whisked the audience away into a kitsch world.

With the setting based around only a handful of props/tools, along with fewer lighting and soundtrack changes, Zwai involves a less-is-more approach. The show relies on the performer’s abilities throughout the highest highs and subdued character moments. Kicking off the show, Esther pulls off a flawless rope routine via the trapeze-like pulley system set-up. Swinging towards the crowd, her first number immediately impressed the all-ages, fan-waving crowd.

The story is made whole by peculiar, interesting character moments and an overt sense of humour. Both characters have varying ticks, continually moving green, glass bottles, heavy, wooden table, and drawers around the stage. To each other’s despair, both characters illuminate their desires for the room. Esther held on tightly as Jonas pushed and pulled the table, on all angles, across the venue. Their expressive, silent performances cement the pillars of circus performance – style and substance.

The performers’ grace and agility were simply awe-inspiring, highlighted by Jonas balancing a red ball on each part of his body throughout an intensifying 10-minute stretch. The pair’s chemistry and dynamic, coupled with a whimsical score, raised the light-hearted, gleeful tone. The floor routine, including Jonas lifting and flipping Esther (keeping a diabolo in motion), fluttered along with jaw-dropping rhythm. Juggling bottles between one another, their synchronicity and reflexes are superhuman.

The big, brash moments of Zwai further wowed and stunned the audience. Esther launched into the air, performing a vertigo inducing, dizzying single-rope routine. Tying a knot, and adding weight, to the table, her core strength helped pull the mass straight upwards. Supported by Jonas and the table’s immense weight, Esther’s swing routine made palms sweat.JonasEstherSlanzi

The show’s climactic routines were worth the price of admission several times over. Jonas took multi-tasking to the next level – balancing the ball on his face whilst pulling himself several meters off the ground. His diabolo routine was the show’s standout act, showcasing his immense concentration and fluidity across the stage. His exhaustion caught up with him, losing balance multiple times during the final routine.

Esther and Jonas received a standing ovation as Zwai came to a blistering close. The show is one of this festival’s most refined and extravagant circus productions. Get in quick!

Photo credit: E1NZ

Theatre Review: Luminous @ Freo Royale, Fremantle Town Hall

Art Kinetica and Lauren Eisinger’s latest Fringe World smash hit, Luminous, will make you ask to that all important question: “Seriously…how do they do it?!”. This circus extravaganza is Limbo’s biggest competition for the season’s best production – an outside-the-box achievement worthy of the praise and rewound venue it’s staged in.

3862_Luminous_Promo-9_EFUL_IMAGEThe Fremantle Town Hall was a hefty buzz with anticipation, awaiting something truly exciting on the show’s opening night. Before the lights went out, an electronica/trance/percussive score blasted our ears. The pre-show atmosphere immersed the audience in a frenzying mix of contemporary artistic sensibilities and the venue’s period aesthetic.

As the show begun, the lights flickered into a deep sleep, and the pitch-black aura held us in a trance. The anticipation reached breaking point, before a soothing narration voice kicked in. The announcement pulled us forwards, calling the performers “creatures” and referring to the ensuing performance as a “Pigment of imagination”.

As the narration stopped, Luminous showcased the raw, everlasting strength of its imagination. Utilising black light technology and fluorescent body paint, the performers transported us to another universe. Two stage hands, donning black leotards, painted symmetrical patterns over each character. Orange, green, yellow, red, and blue neon lit up the stage, illuminating every movement and mannerism.

The show’s four lead characters, each donning intricate, alien-like headgear and facial detailing, are worth the admission price. Living up to the “setting aside everything you thought you knew about gravity” tagline, each performer got a chance to showcase their extraordinary skill sets. A mix of solo and group sequences, the group’s collaborative efforts solidified the illusion.

Luminous’ solo performances became central to its visceral, unique sensory impact. Fitted with unique patterns all over their bodies, each artist contorted their bodies to a raucous reception from the awe-struck crowd. Handstands, front flips, and stretches showcased each person’s inhuman balance and physicality.

Despite a few stuff-ups and foibles, the circus acts and flourishes flowed together. Early on, orange juggling clubs lit up the stage. Our performers, juggling multiple clubs at once, gave us the first taste of the cast’s overwhelming talents. As the show continued, hula-hoops and juggling balls flew through the air and around our spirited aerialists and acrobats.

3862_Luminous_Promo-8_EFUL_IMAGEOvershadowing the juggling and hula-hooping stunts, the cast’s aerial pursuits were terrifying just to look at. The aerial silk stunts took everyone by surprise, further accentuating the cast’s intricate abilities. In addition, the climax is a visual and emotional feast. As one character ascends, on the trapeze, water bombs and bottles spray UV liquid across the stage.

Made up of three male performers and one female, the narrative provides a meditative, melodic exploration of gender and power. Within each sequence and act, each action further develops the show’s characters and thematic resonance. Throughout the event, in true Avatar-like fashion, the show heavy-handedly presents the native person’s interactions with flora, fauna, and their own kind.

Luminous is one of Fringe World and Freo Royale’s – literally and figuratively – brightest events. The extravaganza provides a creative and exhilarating venture into another realm for only a few nights at a time.

Photo credit: Riley Burns

Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness


Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness

Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World)


Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World)