Thursday, May 30, 2013

Limbo, 20th May

Limbo the show was truly astounding.

I missed out on Cantina last year, and after seeing Limbo I'm kicking myself for that. I was blown away by the whole thing and, at only 75 minutes per show, it all whizzed by far too quickly for my liking. Luckily, not only did I pay to see it with some friends, but also got to see it  courtesy of Limbo PR people. Once isn't really enough.

Some of the feats performed in Limbo were literally jaw-dropping. I mean it. I looked around the audience and everyone's mouths were agape. At other times, we all had our hands up, peeking through our fingers like you would a horror movie you love, or clutching our cheeks in delight. 

There were acts I had honestly never seen before. One of the men performed a take on ropework, only instead of a thick braided or silk rope he had what looked like a spongy pole set up on stage. This he effortlessly climbed, balanced against and wrapped himself round. Then he would propell himself up it to then practically freefall down to the stage, bringing himself to a halt in the nick of time by tightening his legs. Even having seen it once before I felt nervy watching it again. 

The troupe (excluding musicians) was made up of four men and two girls and it was refreshing to see the men make up the majority of the show. Although the girls were clearly very talented as well, it was nice to see some men take centre stage in something like this and show that they can be just as flexible and multi-talented as women in this sphere of entertainment. And they were supremely multi-talented. I can't imagine how they went about casting this.

There was a contortionist for example, who was the first 'act' of the night. But he didn't just do that - he later had to juggle (with fire!), he also performed magic. One of the other guys tap danced... and sang... and... 'floated'... I can just imagine leading artists in their field showing off their one talent at auditions for this show, and the director going, "great! Now, what else can you do?" Being good at just one thing wasn't enough for this show. It blew my mind how much stamina they had to get through the whole show with barely a break in between acts. You could see them panting from the exertion.

There wasn't exactly a storyline to the show but each performer had a character they stuck to throughout the show which gave the performance some cohesion. The contortionist was this sort of sleazy, depraved guy, put to good effect early on in a humourous take on a striptease (which everyone expects in this kind of show) where he tried to get one of the girls to get naked for him. Except, even though they took off item after item of clothing, they somehow never got down to brass tacks. Different, and funny.

One of the girls was a sexy little vixen, coming on stage with a whip at one point, and being the temptress to the other girl's more demure look. This little vamp turned out to be a sword swallower and fire eater and put on of the most impressive fire eating shows I've seen, not to mention making me feel the most queasy after seeing the swords going down her throat. A little twisted nod to the song that had just been performed - Nasty, nasty, tasty tasty!

Equally as impressive, (or in fact, rather more so) was the guy who could 'walk on his hands'. He did a whole act balancing on his hands, something which was a bit of a motif through the show, when he would pop up and do handstands on whatever happened to be on stage at the time - you know - two of the other performers, one of their heads, or a ladder on fire. That kind of 'mundane' thing. His body was almost unnatural. He had muscles I never knew existed and you could see every one popping out of his body as he used them to keep himself perfectly balanced on the smallest of platforms. 

My favourite part of the evening though, was one of the acts I've never seen before. It was so simple but so sublime, and I'm almost sure my description of it won't properly convey the wonder of it. Three of the guys, naked from the waist up, climbed up a pole each. And began to sway. And sway some more. And faster. And lower. Dipping into the middle of the stage, barely avoiding hitting each other. Dipping low into the audience, touching people's hands as they did so. It was mesmerising. And unbelievably sexy!

The music deserves a special mention too. The musical director managed to create special and intriguing sounds from all sorts of things, a glass bowl for example which helped to set the scene for each feat or helped to provide background as the equipment for the next part was set up. The songs were all great fun, the brass element making it feel like a party you were involved in and everyone loved their version of dubstep performed with a tuba. 

As I found the rest of the show so utterly enthralling it makes me a little sad to report that the ending was a bit of a weak point. They finished on an illusion which  was fairly obvious to figure out, and the last song, while fun, wasn't my favourite of the night. It didn't really matter though, I still left the Spiegeltent buzzing from what I'd seen, and so did all my companions. This show is joyful, with a bit of a knowing wink to everything they do. I shall be waxing evangelical to everyone I know about it. 

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Please feel free to add your views, or maybe suggest somewhere I should put on my list!