If you’ve ever read a list of shows not to miss at Fringe World or caught any of the media surrounding the yearly event, Limbo is the show you’ve undoubtedly heard of.
It’s been billed as ‘raising the bar’ as a new and exciting circus-cabaret, an unmissable party between heaven and hell.
To put it bluntly, there’s a hell of a lot of hype surrounding this show – reviewers have called it chilling and thrilling, indescribable, sensational and among the best in town. And there’s no denying it is a lot of a fun.
Limbo is a high energy, theatrical spectacular that brings together all the best parts of a gothic vaudevillian circus and presents them with humour and professionalism.
Just a touch of magic is combined with an eclectic live soundtrack that runs the gamut from cacophony to perfectly-timed nuisances highlighting the feats of the performers, complete with a harmonica, beat boxing, tuba and megaphone siren.
In fact it is the music by the inimitable Sxip Shirey that is really steals the show, led by the commanding ringmaster Elyas Khan who, together with musicians Mick Stuart and Eamon McNelis, ties all the acts together with ecstatic melodies, irreverent electric-acoustic noise and playful sexy beats.
Limbo is a non-stop, flirtatious and fun show where the amazing musicianship and love of dance is met with impressive acrobatics, clowning and displays of strength and endurance. The international cast includes Coney Island sword swallower and vintage beauty Heather Holliday, French gravity-defying Chinese pole master, beatboxer and clown Mikael Bres, Australia’s acrobatic dancing sensation Hilton Denis and mind-bending French contortionist and acrobat Aurelien Oudot.
The pole-dancing, contortion, sword swallowing, fire dancing, pole balancing, acrobatics and dance numbers are all impressive in their own right, presented with professionalism and an air of nonchalance that can only come from knowing they’re the best at what they do.
However, with all of that being said, I still wouldn’t say that this show is unmissable. I can understand why it is billed this way – if you haven’t seen much of Fringe or are new to this style of circus, then you probably will be shocked and in awe. More seasoned Fringe-goers will likely be familiar with a lot of the tricks and have seen them performed equally as well or better, in a more intimate setting that legitimately lends itself to the ‘sexy and dangerous’ atmosphere that the highly polished Limbo aims for.
Yes Limbo is dark and flirts with danger, but in safe and gleaming kind of way. It pushes boundaries without being legitimately uncomfortable and it creates awe with an invisible safety net. It is still a lot of fun to watch, the acts are still undeniably impressive and the performers are definitely talented and accomplished.
If you’re new to modern circus, if you’re looking for something a little wilder than your usual Fringe picks, or you’re just looking for a kickass cast of characters backed by an incredible soundtrack in a highly polished and professional show, then do check out Limbo – but make sure you give some of the local circus-cabaret acts on offer a chance, too.
Limbo is on every night except Mondays until 19 February at the West Australian Spiegeltent in the Pleasure Garden. Tickets range from $35 for standing to $75 for premium.
*I received tickets to this show in exchange for my review (thanks Muse Bureau). All opinions are my own.