By Lisa Lanzi
A zany assortment of brilliantly conceived characters, wings, sequins, feathers and lamé, international talent to burn, eye-popping cirque, comedy, great music and astounding vocals. Welcome to LIFE - The Show!
A vocal collage of statements about life and it’s possibly mind-numbing (and seemingly perpetually onanistic!) routine are the background to the prelude where we meet the hapless and gently bumbling male character in a fabulous check suit who is a little reminiscent of Kramer from Seinfeld. After the list of life’s same/same unfolding we delve time into the loosely threaded story of this person’s life-journey punctuated by other characters and a lot of jaw-dropping routines. The whole package created by Scott Maidment and team is first class circus/cabaret with huge audience appeal.
Fortunately for Australian performance, clowning is a more diverse and sophisticated art than the base slapstick you may have seen at good old Sole Brothers' Circus when I was growing up in Sydney. In LIFE we are privileged to have Helena Bittencourt (Brazil) and Goos Meeuwsen (Netherlands) grace the stage with their enormous talent and presence and subtle clowning styles. Both performers have worked with Cirque du Soleil in the past and both include elements of Bouffon in their routines as well as heightened and expert physicality.
Other (also ridiculously talented) cast-members are Lee Taylor (vocals USA), thrilling dancer/choreographers Hilton Denis and Rechelle Mansour (both Australian), sax and flute player Blaise Garza (Australia / Violent Femmes), the wildly flexible Aerialist Tim Kriegler (Germany) an impeccable female aerialist from Mexico (whose name I missed sadly) and drummer Attis Clopton (USA). This group oozes personality and style without sacrificing professionalism or their superb talents. And those talents were multi-layered as performers swapped between moving, singing and playing instruments.
Though the narrative of LIFE is a little loose, I applaud the linking transitions throughout which were, in turn, whimsical, comedic, self-effacing or just darn sexy, but conscious all the while of safety as at times there were equipment fastenings to take care of and with such astonishing aerial acts, safety is paramount. However, each scene was decidedly eloquent, sometimes cheeky and hilarious, and a great observation of our varied humanity and our stages of life. There is one segment that was original as well as mesmerizing - a very different take on an aerial silks routine but without the silks. Truly a must-see!
It is such a treat to attend a performance that is life-affirming without being too sugary plus technically brilliant without taking itself too seriously. As Strut and Fret Productions quote, American writer, artist and philosopher Elbert Hubbard: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” Such a great night at the Fringe.
Photos Supplied by Lisa Lanzi
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.