Rouge – Circus for Grown Ups Review by John Pendergast

 **** stars

Rouge – Circus for Grown Ups, as the name suggests, is not your family circus. Rouge uses 6 varied performers to look at sexuality through the circus arts. With acts ranging from trapeze and aerial lyra hoop to fire twirling and opera, this show takes the audience on an entertaining ride.

Paul Westbrook kicked Rouge off with attitude and set the scene for what would be an at-times hilarious and at-times poignant evening. Paul’s performance throughout the entire show was a real stand out. His quasi-MC role within Rouge helped to carry the different acts through. Paul should be exceptionally proud of not just his circus skills (especially in lyra) but also of his on-stage personality. Similarly, Issie Hart’s stunning vocals helped to set the mood for a wide variety of the acts. A personal highlight for me was her aria in the second act that had a slight difference. I won’t say what the difference was but let’s just say it was a real climax!

The remainder of the cast, consisting of Lyndon Johnson, Jessie McGibbons, Liam DeJong, and Maddy Burleigh, generally performed well throughout Rouge. I particularly enjoyed the Cyr wheel routine. At no point, however, did I feel like an act was a weak link and should have been cut. Each performance was generally strong and fitted well into the overall theme of the night.

The costuming, or lack thereof, worked well and it was apparent that the cast were generally comfortable in what they were wearing. Despite a missed lighting cue right at the start, the technical side of the show was smooth and complimented what was happening on stage.

Throughout Rouge, I did feel there were a few moments were the show seemed to come to a stop and therefore broke the flow a little. There were also moments when some of the performers dropped character when they made an error, however this may have been caused by the 2 week break since the show was last performed in London.

Currently in the Wonderland Spiegeltent at Federation Square, Rouge – Circus for Grown Ups is a fine night out for anyone who’s a fan of running away to the circus and doesn’t mind a bit of nudity, sexual innuendo, and men dressed in S&M unicorn outfits while being submissive to a whip cracking woman with a strap-on carrot.


Set – 4/5
Costume – 4/5
Sound – 4/5
Lighting – 4/5
Performances – 4/5
Stage management – 4/5
Direction – 4/5