Fringe World 2015: El Bizarro review

Promising a hedonistic carnival atmosphere and delivering with the perfect mix of glamour and the bizarre, El Bizarro nailed the sweet spot that comes from being both entertaining and professional.

While definitely guaranteed to make you hold your breath in awe, the talented tribe of sideshow freaks, misfits and stunning beauties refused to rely on cheap tricks, instead putting their bodies, minds and wits on display in an act that was (despite blood, nudity, fire, stunts and pain) professional and polished.

All three shows in El Bizarro’s Fringe World 2015 line-up were sold out, and when the crowd began lining up outside the Big Top tent well in advance of the doors opening, we knew we were in for a treat. As MC Magnus Danger Mangnus pointed out, many in the audience had seen one (or several) the performers before – allowing the tent to fill with awe and trepidation about what was to come. However, organisers Danger Cabaret went out of their way to ensure the impressive line-up of local, national and international guests made it a night to be remembered with largely previously-unseen acts.

The charismatic and energetic Magnus Danger Mangnus was there to guide the audience every step of the way, with the performances nicely paced and broken up to provide small moments of relief.

Peggy ‘The Legs’ Malone showed off an incredible contortion act unlike any I’ve seen before, drawing murmurs of wonder from every corner of the room. Her moves went beyond the impressive and went so far as to draw disbelief – I still have no idea how she pulled off some of those positions!

The Astonishing Johnny Domino put on a strong performance (pun intended), as has been the case every time I’ve seen him; Miss Sina King and Vivian Marlowe added a good dose of sparkle and sass; and the devilish Russell Bruner delivered a clever combo of vaudeville, dance and boylesque.

Odile Devine and Cupid’s Avatar gave us a charming and quirky dance duet with some incredibly cute and funny moments, and Aurora Galore closed out the show with lots of fire and finesse, holding the flames in her mouth for moments that seemed to stretch out into forever.

The show was well and truly stolen by Circus Carnis, who gave us a delightful warm up number featuring macabre costumes, wicked piercings and the over-zealous use of a staple gun, before returning to dazzle with their signature suspension moves. I was surrounded by gasps of both fear and delight as the Reverend Butcher ascended to the dizzying heights of the Big Top tent, while Jade swung energetically beneath him. Self described as delightful, disgusting and deranged, their antics were enough to make the audience cringe and recoil, while keeping them entirely mesmerised and unable to look away.

Weird but wonderful, a celebration of the macabre and a incredible display of a wide range of talents, El Bizarro was cohesive, collaborative, and loads of fun, with just the right amount of shock and awe. Abandon all tedium, indeed!

Feature image by Danger Cabaret.

*I was given free tickets to this show in exchange for my review (thanks Fringe World Festival). All opinions are my own. 

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