Hailing from London, Lost in Translation Circus and Cluster Arts have brought with them their show Hotel Paradiso. Setting up their stage to replicate the look and feel of a well-aged hotel lobby, the show revolves around a team of three hotel employees who work under the management of the feisty Madame (played by Annabel Carberry). Sure, the hotel may look minimalistic as heck, but it's got a quirky charm to its aesthetic that makes it look like an attractive location for a little getaway in a small town in Europe. However, not all seems to be going well for the business, as the team are befallen with an eviction notice by husband and wife character duo played by Massimiliano Rossetti and Roisin Morris. With the hotel's future prospects up in the air (literally and metaphorically speaking), what transpires is a battle to save the Hotel from being taken away from the team in a matter of just 24 hours, which includes a range of circus acts and narrative-driven theatrics.
I absolutely loved the storytelling narrative, which, despite being fairly simple, was given an uplifting and upbeat twist through the circus acts and physical theatrics that were weaved throughout the show. This included a topsy-turvy mix of Matthew Green's heart-stopping juggling bottles, Natasha Rushbrooke's grand showcase of aerials skills on a chandelier and placing herself ever so gracefully atop a stack of chairs that were haphazardly positioned on top of each other, Lawrence Swaddle's hand-balancing and acrobatics that never ceased to please, Annabel Carberry's jaw-dropping trapeze acts and hula-hooping and struggling to simply enjoy a glass of wine. While we are conditioned to not love the characters played by Rossetti and Morris, we cannot help but enjoy their mischievous mayhem and their high quality flips, balancing skills, and trapeze acts that gave us shivers from how they managed to get it so perfectly precise every single time!
Not only was each performer brilliant at their physical theatre skills, but they were also able to engage the audience with their highly animated facial expressions, their body language, their harmonized movements, and their ability to grasp the audience's attention with their eloquent storytelling initiative. The pacing of the show was brilliant, in the manner that it was easy to follow and beautifully balanced the mix of narrative and physical theatre. We had plenty of time to get to know each character (and appreciate their respective talents), in addition to following what was an effortless and natural progression of the story. With a clear objective in mind, there was a diverse appeal that spanned across adults and children alike.
In recent years, I have been to plenty of highly-skilled circus shows and can never get bored of the juggling, twirling, acrobatics, and theatrics associated with physical theatre. However, the appeal of Hotel Paradiso lies in its distinct style of combining theatrics with a narrative that does not underline what happens before our eyes, but instead brings it to the forefront and is accentuated by the multi-layered performance that unfolds on stage. It's wholesome, lighthearted, and has a blend of joyful and hilariously painful moments and towards the end, you won't help but feel overjoyed at the outcome of the situation through a fantastic display of trapeze acrobatics that finishes the show on a massive high. So take your friends, your lover, your kids - literally anyone who is looking for a whimsical show that encompasses comedy, circus, and colorful storytelling that will keep you on the edge of your seats and make you feel a range of emotions (mostly the happy kind!) for the entirety of sixty minutes.
My only suggestion would be to perhaps offer each character with a wireless headset microphone if it is possible and/or fits with the budget, as there were (very occasional) moments where it was difficult to hear the dialogues by the performers due to the outdoor background noise from surrounding shows, particularly if they were walking from one end of the stage to the other.
Hotel Paradiso will be performing at Gluttony till March 15, 2020 as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.
Date attended: 15/02/2020 Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★1/2