Strut & Fret Production House’s Limbo has wowed audiences across the world since 2013. Its mix of cabaret, circus and acrobatics, directed by the company’s founding director, Scott Maidment, has won several accolades, including ‘Pick of the Fringe’ (Adelaide Fringe 2013), Best Circus and Physical Theatre (Adelaide Fringe 2014), and the Cabaret Award (Perth Fringe World 2016). The production even impressed Madonna, with the Queen of Pop so bowled over, she saw it twice and then invited Maidment to create a performance for her Rebel Heart Tour (which played Australia’s east coast in March, 2016 as part of an 82-date global trek).
Following on from Limbo’s tremendous success, Strut & Fret last year premiered Limbo Unhinged, promising crowds another ‘edge of your seat’ extravaganza. This latest offering debuted at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival and earned a slew of five-star reviews. And then, in September, Limbo Unhinged hit the stage at the Brisbane Festival, where The Courier Mail’s Arts Editor, Phil Brown, said it “may be the perfect show”, containing “everything I would want in a show”.
From 4 January, Sydney audiences get their turn to see Limbo Unhinged when it arrives at the Opera House’s Studio. The international cast of performers includes American sword swallower Heather Holliday, Australian dancer Hilton Denis, Brazilian aerial wiz Marco Motta and, hailing from France, Chinese Pole master and beatboxer Mikael Bres.
Bres is a member of the original Limbo cast. After graduating from school in his native France with a degree in literature and art, he trained for three years at ESAC, the college of circus arts in Belgium, where he mastered the Chinese Pole, along with acrobatics, dance, and theatre. Bres tells Theatre People he finished his circus studies nine years ago.
“Since then, I’ve never stopped performing,” Bres says.
In fact, he’s travelled the world with a number of companies, including Circle of Eleven and Cirque du Soleil. He talks about meeting Maidment, who saw him perform in Germany and invited him to be a part of Limbo. Bres then travelled to Melbourne where the show was created.
In Limbo Unhinged, Bres has the opportunity to showcase not only the skills he’s developed through formal training, but self-taught talents that include singing and beat boxing. He describes Limbo Unhinged as an “adventure”. And while several of his Limbo co-stars have returned, the new show also showcases the talents of a number of other internationally-renowned performers.
“The cast is amazing,” Bres says.
A full live soundtrack is integral to the show, with New York-based Gene ‘Sxip’ Shirey on board as musical director and composer. Sydney musician Mick Stuart leads the live ensemble performing the score, of which Bres speaks highly, describing the music of Limbo Unhinged as “dreamy” and “dark”. Meanwhile, theatre, film and event designer James Browne is behind the show’s costumes, and UK lighting maestro Philip Gladwell has undertaken both lighting and set design duties.
Limbo Unhinged will play the Sydney Opera House’s Studio until 3 March, and a season in Hobart will follow.
Tickets for Limbo Unhinged can be purchased online here.