LIFE – The Show is brought to us by Strut & Fret’s Creative Director Scott Maidment who returns with a new circus extravaganza about life after acclaimed productions Limbo, Blanc de Blanc and Cantina. It is clear from this production that Maidment has a real eye for bringing together richly diverse casts to perform in his multifaceted, dazzling shows.

LIFE – The Show. Photograph © Victor Frankovski

LIFE – The Show can be broadly broken into two acts. The first part is more reflective and observational, seeking to capture the life of the everyday person. Here we see international clowns Dutch circus artist Goos Meeuwsen and his regular clowning partner Brazilian performer Helena Bittencourt, who has performed with Cirque du Soleil. Meeuswen is skilled at drawing in and engaging the audience as a wordless MC, using slapstick to tease out the storyline. In a duet with Bittencourt, the pair offers up various milestones that would be familiar to many of us from first meeting to first mating, from birth-control to breastfeeding, and beyond.  In this part there are some brief moments of connection with the audience, a fragment here or there where we hopefully laugh in acknowledgement of life’s ups and downs, and an acceptance of the mundane moments.

With the second part of the show the energy intensifies into a celebration of what it is to be alive and it is here that we see more of a hallmark Strut & Fret production, with high energy performances from acrobats, burlesque performers, cabaret singers, dancers and musicians including saxophone player Blaise Garza from the Violent Femmes who at one stage flies through the air while playing his saxophone without missing a beat.

Highlights of the show include Australian Hilton Denis’s tap-dancing solo, which delivers both charm and swagger in equal measure. His performance throughout the show is well complimented by the strength of his choreographic and performance partner Rechelle Mansour.

LIFE – The Show. Photograph © Victor Frankovski

Aerialist Elke Uhd and performer Oscar Kaufmann both mesmerise in a number of acts, most spectacularly in a routine which is choreographed inside a clear plastic tube suspended from the top of the tent. This piece sees Kaufmann and Uhd perform an aerial duet in which there are moments when their figures almost seem to merge and undulate in a way that is ethereal yet slightly uncomfortable witness with a suggestion of the womb.

Steve Toulmin has done a fabulous job of arranging the music for the production, with Attis Clopton on drums, Garza on saxophone and flute, and vocalist Fantine Pritoula delivering a blistering soundtrack to accompany the performances and provide a unifying element to the production.

This adult-only cabaret with its air of vaudeville and fifties visual aesthetic delivers plenty to enjoy, and even in its more solemn moments leaves audiences thoroughly entertained.

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