Limbo Unhinged, the latest circus cabaret from Australia’s Strut & Fret (Blanc De Blanc, Cantina) and director Scott Maidment can be described in two words … hot and sexy.
From the moment the triple-threat performers first come on stage in very bold and daring black and gold costumes, you know that Limbo Unhinged is going to be a unique and thrilling experience.
The heartbeat of the show is provided by ringleader Sxip Shirley (who is also its musical director and composer), with more instruments than I could count. He is joined by Mick Stuart to deliver the steam-punk rock funky and intense tunes that accompany the incredible onstage acts. Throughout the show, the depth of sound is added to by the majority of the performers joining in on guitars, from electric to acoustic to bass.
Entering and exiting the stage from two doors, one literally embedded onstage, the incredibly talented troupe of performers transition fluidly from one enchanting and mesmerising act to another, barely giving the audience enough time to catch their breath before dazzling them with the next act of brilliance.
Whilst the stage and space at The Studio may be small, it is not only filled with onstage presence, but also supporting sets and lighting from Philip Gladwell. Small poles, Chinese poles and sway poles that performers are strapped into that flex in ways that seem to defy gravity are added and subtracted seamlessly from the stage to add to the spectacle. Adding to the brilliance are the sexy, minimalist (sometimes leaving nothing to the imagination) costumes by James Browne.
You haven’t seen a sword swallowing act until you’ve seen the beautiful femme fatale Heather Holliday do things with an LED light, and then fire, I never thought possible. Hand-to-hand gymnastic performers Charlotte O’Sullivan and Nicolas Jelmoni shouldn’t be allowed to do what they do without a safety mat. Sydney-born and So You Think You Can Dance alum Hilton Denis is a tap and dance superstar, who can also slap a mean bass beat. Marco Motta gracefully twists and contorts around the aerial straps like no one’s business. Mikael Bres and Rémi Martin Lenz pair up for a charmingly funny Chinese Pole routine that is one of the highlights of the show.
Limbo Unhinged is grittier and moodier than Blanc de Blanc, I like to think of them as the dark and the light. But both shows do one thing exceptionally well – showcase the incredible talents of the performers.
Limbo Unhinged is playing at the Studio, Sydney Opera House through to 3 March.
Tickets can be purchased here