From the producers of Le Noir: the Dark Side of Cirque, Cirque Adrenaline is a new show with more strongmen, more tricks and more aerial majesty. Featuring over 30 déshabillé performers from around the world, these blazing disciples of movement dominated the smoky auditorium without harness or helmet.
The physical comedy of MC/Clown Ross Steeves- parading as a French mime- slowed the pace of the show and was utterly humourless, but was soon forgotten amidst the sizzling heat of Dai Zaobab’s fire dance- straight outta Koh Pha Ngan (minus the party treats)- and motorbikes sweeping around the ‘Sphere of Fear.’ Other standouts included Oleksyi Mruz’s balancing act atop a wobbling Rolla Bolla tower and the double-jointed, preying mantis impersonation of Sabrina Aganier’s stunning aerial hoop routine.
The first time I was truly amazed was when Diectter Pastran & Jhonathan Hernandez Reina performed in the ‘Wheel of Death’. The two acrobats got air time within hooped tracks at either end of a giant spinning pendulum in an act about as safe as a blossoming addiction to dirty heroin. Blindfolding themselves, skipping rope and even clambering onto the outside of the hoops, this was quite simply awesome to witness.
A show like Cirque Adrenaline is simultaneously made possible and superfluous by the FRINGE WORLD Festival, which it so closely follows. It takes advantage of the fact that in the aftermath of that month-long extravaganza, Perth audiences might remain open to taking a risk on something new. However, it offers very little fresh entertainment in the unenviable job of following-up Limbo and La Soirée, whose more polished runs already extended beyond the usual period of FRNGE WORLD. Each reached a huge number of the same middle to upper class audience who might attend this circus too, so aerial silks, strongmen and balancing acts are all old news.
For example, Joshua McGahan and Mark Flores, members of the ‘Extreme Team’, were a sight to behold as they engaged their core strength and balance in a series of partnered lifts, but in the vastness of Crown Theatre they needed 14 other performers to dress the stage so it didn’t appear barren. While impressive, it lacked the intimacy of the similar performance from The English Gents in La Soirée.
All the performers were amazing technicians, but they lacked novelty and there was little soul behind their awesome physicality and technique. It became like watching gymnastics and it was difficult to get immersed. The uninspired electronic soundtrack was a missed opportunity to get the crowd pumping with recognisable tunes, and though the show’s production value was immense, it required extended blackouts to set up each new machine.
Touring in the second half of the year would have made a show such as this seem fresher, but it may also have meant that it met with more resistance from audiences whose encounters with ‘edgy’ FRINGE WORLD shows were long forgotten. Cirque Adrenaline is an exciting part of a new breed of performance making circus sexy again, it’s just a little too late to come West.
Words by Samuel J. Cox
Cirque Adrenaline runs until March 27 at Crown Perth. Tickets available here.