Friday 18 May 2018

Society review

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 Bar.

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
until 26 May October | Thurs - Sat 7:30pm, Fri - Sat 9:30pm
$25 - $55
Bookings: After Dark Theatre

Photography Credit: Christopher Trawn

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