Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★ Date attended: 22/02/2019
When I walked into The Octagon to watch Rouge, I quickly realised that this was going to be an extraordinary circus show with a ton of quirks and perks to get you into a voluptuously stimulating mood.
Mixing a bunch of circus favourites, audiences can expect to experience acrobatics, aerial gymnastics, and balancing acts, along with a very strong theme of sensual romance, some not-so-subtle S&M, and tongue-in-cheek humour that is scattered throughout the show. Making up the Rouge squad is a bombshell babe with a killer soprano voice, two incredibly ripped men, who can carry each others' weights and more, one glorious hunk of an androgynous man, who is as mischievous as they are highly skilled in acrobatics, and three stunning women, who have mad skills around aerials, burlesque, and cabaret. Combining it with an eclectic mix of jazz music and electro-pop beats, along with strobe light effects, it presents with a truly risqué show that really justifies their description of being a 'circus for grown-ups'.
While there is a lot going on within the show, with no real narrative in the background, there is a sense of beautiful chaos that takes centre stage. We see an impeccably ripped man do a handstand on a stack of chairs that are haphazardly placed on top of each other. We are treated to soul-defying opera singing that gives us goosebumps. We are toyed with the concept of a dangerously fierce dominatrix, who knows how to whip her unicorns into shape. We are introduced to the marriage of circus and cabaret through a steamy combination of aerials, acrobatics, and interpretative dance with lampshades for heads. We are treated to the essence of Rouge.
I loved how the topics of sexuality were beautifully expressed through the art of physical theatre and cabaret. Everything and everyone is fluid in the Rouge universe and they wholeheartedly deliver a message of acceptance through the mingling of boys with boys, girls with girls, boys with girls, boys with girls in a group, and more. The Cyr wheel was a particular highlight that involved two people seemingly in love, as they spun themselves around on stage in cohesive unison.
At times, there seem to be acts that are plain bizarre and struggle to fit within the grand scheme of things in the show. However, it quickly reminds you to not expect a linear or smooth flow, as each act can be seen as independent from the others. There is diversity offered throughout the show, where each individual brings their skills to the forefront and optimizes on their potential to give the audience a glimpse of themselves through what they do.
Rouge is the kind of show that wants you to sit back and unwind, forgetting about the stresses of life and delve into a world where anything and everything goes. it's a show that celebrates freedom, that embraces fluidity across all mediums, that doesn't follow rules or abide by any boundaries or barriers, and that is meant to leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and red with pleasure. Expect to see a colourful and playful combination of feather, tether, and leather, as the Rouge squad take you on a journey that will leave you hot and bothered for all the right reasons.
Pro tip - try to seat yourself where it's tiered as there is restricted viewing from the first three rows, especially if you are closer to the stage.
Rouge will be performing at The Octagon in Gluttony, as part of Adelaide Fringe till March 17. Book your tix here.