The Carnival of Lost Souls is a macabre and mysterious Cabaret.
A 19th Century Gothic Circus haunts the Melba Spiegeltent. The living dead slink in the middle of the night and cast shadows with their lanterns. They converge around the Ringmaster. He surveys and they obey.
The Carnival is eternal torment for a Gypsy Fortune Teller (Aurora Kurth) and a lovesick Clown (Anthony Craig). Both are damned in the afterlife wanting something they can never have.
The Gypsy narrates her betrayal; her love, the philandering Ringmaster (Graham Coupland). Her voice is a delicate accompaniment to the brilliant and distinctive score by Platonic.
Anthony Craig is a delight to watch as the optimistic Clown, in the dark abyss of the Carnival. He waits patiently for the Gypsy to notice him.
The story continues as the acrobatics of The Carnies defy gravity. The Carnies act is aptly named ‘This Side Up’. The three ghoulish muscular men balance upside down and sideways on anything, including each other.
Between each masterful act the two torn souls—the Gypsy and the Clown–sing of their passion and unrequited loves. The Gypsy is taunted while the Ringmaster admires the beautiful Aerialist (Hannah Trott). She swings gracefully and contorts her slight frame, around a ring hanging from the roof of the big top.
The Clown can’t bear to watch the Gypsy suffer anymore and plots a way to win her heart. Anthony Craig embodies Coupland’s bizarre yet alluring story. He’s a tall gangly man with a boyish face and ‘Alice Cooper’ made-up eyes. His gentle voice and innocent manner, ingratiate the audience instantly.
The Conjurer (Richard Vegas) takes pity on the Clown. Vegas places a fob watch into a small box. He then places the box on a side table and proceeds to dance with the table that floats in mid air. He finishes his waltz and has conjured the watch into a ring, for the Clown’s pending proposal.
Circus Trick Tease are the Carnival’s physical entertainers. They take to drinking in their everlasting condemnation. Even the booze can’t stop the two sinister men balancing on moving boxes, bottles, and glasses.
The European (Farhad Ahadi) finishes his bottle of wine and jams the upturned bottle into a box atop three towering boxes. He proceeds to balance on the crown of his head, upside down, on top of the bottle.
Circus Trick Tease increases the audience anxiety when they swing their female counterpart around by her hands and ankles as if she were a skipping rope. Then the Carnies join in for a bout of ‘human-jump-rope’ over her swinging body.
The Gypsy endures her eternal damnation while the Ringmaster blatantly flirts with other female members of the troupe. The Clown seizes the opportunity to propose. Rejection and the reality of Carnival life; wipes the smile off his face. Anthony Craig gives a credible performance as a drunken lost soul.
Copland creates a good balance between adrenaline pumping acrobatics, illusions, and soulful original songs. There is no room for error in the intimate afterworld of the Melba Spiegeltent. The physical entertainment and illusions are quite a spectacle, as they are performed within close proximity of the audience.
Tracie Morley’s innovative choreography is reminiscent of her stunning work in (Spiegelworld’s – Absinthe & Empire, Baz Luhrmann’s – Moulin Rouge & The Great Gatsby).
Terence O’Connell’s eye for detail is exceptional and the Carnival comes to life with Clockwork Butterfly’s precise period costumes.
Graham Coupland’s Gothic Cabaret is magnificent. Witness the weird wonders and wanderers at The Carnival of Lost Souls.