Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★★ Date attended: 08/03/2019
Adelaide-based circus Olio Circus (a female-led circus trope by Natalie Tran, Chantelle Reed, Melissa Johns and Ellyse Bunney) debuted their show The Otherworld at the Adelaide Fringe this year and it brilliantly marries the music of Goth-meets-steampunk with the art of acrobatics and physical theatre in a world of fairy tales, myths, and legends, where "happy endings come to die".
Kicking off the show with an illuminated light display of angel-like wings syncing with the killer tunes of the steampunk music in the background, we witness the union of two souls that quickly jumps from having a fairytale vibe to one that resembles a rose that withered far too quickly. We are then treated to a beautiful selection of solo acts that jump between the themes of light and darkness through their costumes, the lighting, and their overall vibe emanating from each act that makes us inquisitive to keep watching this non-verbal narrative of what it's like to be in The Otherworld.
We witness beautiful acrobatics on a suspended hula hoop by The Unseelie Faerie (played by Chantelle Reed), a dreamy aerials on silk routine by The Condemned (played by Ellyse Bunney), a luminous juggling display by the Wanderer (played by Sam Matthewman), and a whimsically playful topsy turvy chaos of acrobatics, aerials, and trapeze by the Marionette (played by Alex Charman). We are then presented with a confronting and impressive routine that thoroughly challenges the limits of flexibility by the Arachnid (played by Melissa Johns), followed by The Banshee (played by Natalie Tran), who does a hauntingly sensual performance of aerials on silk that sees her gracefully plummet near to the ground, just as quickly as she makes her way to the top of the tent. Symbolic of a rebirth and bringing back light into a world that seemed to be plagued by nothing apart from darkness for quite some time, Purifire (played by Edwina Barns-Tripp) twirls and plays with fire in a way that almost makes it look as effortless as it is dangerous.
Each act heightens to your senses to the max, by delivering a classic circus act with a major, deeper plot twist that accentuates the dangerous and dark undertones setting the theme of the show. Complemented with just the right attire, the animated facial expressions, and the strobe lighting effects to add to the moody ambience created by and with each character, we are served sizzling steampunk tracks played live on an electric guitar by the masked The Dark Lord (played by Scott Reed). By adding a macabre twist to a classic circus routine, there is an atmosphere of dark subtlety that celebrates these mystical creatures, who possess an eerie vibe that simply works for the concept of this unique show. It's a surreal experience to see a glimpse of the unknown and opens your eyes to a world where anything is possible.
Olio Circus' The Otherworld takes a bold step by redefining the classic circus acts and adding a dark yet thoroughly intriguing non-verbal narrative into the mix. They might sound like they are the freshest faces in the circus industry, but don't be fooled, because this is a pool of talent that takes pride in their impeccable dexterity, agility, and choreography skills that will blindside you through the enigmatic storyline underlying their exquisitely executed performance.
The Otherworld will be performing at Gluttony till March 16, as part of the Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.