Circus for adults comes to Melbourne in the form of After Dark Theatre's Society, a circus-cabaret set to the free-spirited vibe of New Orleans. Suitably taking place in the Melba Spiegeltent, there are plenty of acts that delight and impress audiences.
Eight talented artists appear throughout the show and they work extremely
well as an ensemble and in supporting each other. The standout routines include Jacinta
Rohan with her unsettling contortionism, Mathew Brown's skilful straps numbers
and Alyssa Moore impresses the audience with a high-risk performance on the Russian
Tully Fedorowjtsch is also a
highlight with his acts, including the fast spinning of two water-filled bowls and barely sending any drops into the crowd, and his balancing/spinning
of a giant cube frame.
Costumer designer Nay Cananzi has had some fun in creating
the performers' attire, however you can’t help but wonder why the women are
so scantily clad yet for the most part of the show the men remain
covered from head to toe. While there is a moment of male nudity and two others donning some tight-fitting shorts for one act, this feels more tokenistic when compared to the women.
Despite the Mardi Gras tone, there is a heteronormative
feel running through Society and there is very little subversion displayed. This
is further highlighted by the fact that the “worst thing” an audience member is
imagining - as determined by our MC - is seeing him in a dress, which later
eventuates but is played for laughs.
Billed as an adults only show, there’s not much in
Society that a teenager wouldn’t see
on TV or at the movies. After Dark Theatre may
have delivered an entertaining circus show, however their inclusion of Mardi
Gras and New Orleans could have been better worked into the performances and
its storytelling to really push some boundaries.
Venue: Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnson Street, Collingwood
Season: until 26 May October | Thurs - Sat 7:30pm, Fri - Sat 9:30pm
Tickets: $25 - $55
Bookings: After Dark Theatre
Photography Credit: Christopher Trawn