Circus full of rambunctious cheek
Carousel and Clothesline. Picture: Norbi Whitney
The West Australian
Kate Prendergast The West Australian
February 10, 2014
Carousel and Clothesline
Presented by Vague de Cirque
REVIEW: Kate Prendergast
It's 11.45pm on Friday night, and the Fringe World punters' last-stop show in the Pleasure Garden is Carousel and Clothesline- an old-fashioned, light-hearted routine of goofy antics, impressive trapeze action and your standard serve of accomplished multi-ball tossing.
Now, there is arguably too much ennui, cultural arrogance and cynicism skulking about for any modern circus act to successfully get off the ground by being just about feats of Wonder and Amazement under a canvas big top. Fortunately, Vague de Cirque seems to know this. It has therefore lovingly modified the traditional with a bit of rambunctious cheek.
with individual professionalism always at risk of being either sabotaged or compromised by the rest of the group. It's made to feel like a gang of talented, travelling friends at the point of becoming squabbling family.
All of the performers have characters drawn from the familiar circus tropes. There's the human spider, the tiny self-possessed gymnast, the affable dope and the broad-chested strongman. The latter's full and bushy woodsman's beard is a source of pleasure in itself, especially when it pokes itself between the red curtains at the back of the stage as though levitating. He also owns a pair of exceptionally fine, melony buttocks (I speak with authority here).
The fussy, weedy and greasily-charismatic ringmaster is the comic centre-piece though. Strutting about the stage and giving toothy, sycophantic smiles beneath a pencil-thin moustache, his vanity and unctuousness is duly punished in a performance of All of Me, through which he nobly battles to the end in spite of several unplanned wardrobe malfunctions. Torn to shreds by lustful females taking his lyrics at their word, he tearfully ends the solo in a peacock-feathered showgirl outfit and shin-high hockey socks
Slapdash slapstick aside, the show's acrobatics also make for a suitably impressive spectacle, although character is relatively enfeebled in these sections. The performance's final trapeze act tops this category, performed bravely between the petite gymnast and the strongman.
Replete with cider and lazy bonhomie from a full night of Fringing, the crowd was very willing to get all the delight and amusement they could from the performance. They cheered often, clapped loudly, and sometimes gave the whole thing an air of pantomime.
It's not Cirque du Soleil, sure- but who wants to watch a gamut of mind-boggling cavorting at such a time anyway? Waggishly shabby, unpretentiously entertaining and charmingly facetious, Carousel and Clothesline is like eating a Tim Tam at midnight-all the more delicious because it's inessential.