Saturday, 12 March 2011

Smoke and Mirrors, Spiegeltent ****

Smoke and Mirrors
Created by Craig Ilott  and iOTA
Spiegeltent, Victoria Arts Centre, until 25 Feb, 2011
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 12, 2011

Get on this crazy, rollercoaster ride that is Smoke and Mirrors and enjoy the trip. Conceived by director, Craig Ilott, and raunchy singer, iOTA, it is a collage of song, burlesque, vaudeville, circus, illusion and sideshow freaks. Leave your conservatism at the door because bits of this show transgress some boundaries of gentility.

This is the first in an ongoing programme in the Famous Spiegeltent. You can sip a wine, perch on a leather seat in a secretive booth and marvel at its velvet and brocade canopies, mirrored columns and cut-glass windows.

As host, iOTA has a commanding stage presence and powerful singing voice. He introduces a parade of eccentric characters and shifts from seductive to repellent, sexy to grotesque, vicious to melancholy.

Four acrobats perform dazzling feats of balance and strength. The trio, ThisSideUp (James Brown, Casey Douglas, Christian Schooneveldt-Reid), dressed in striped bathing suits as moustachioed, 1920s, musclemen poseurs, perform a hilarious, breath-taking, hand balancing routine. In another sassy, exciting act, they toss their female partner (Kali Retallick) like a piece of flotsam.

Queenie van de Zandt thrills us with her rich, effortless voice and a passionate song – despite being a bearded lady. Wayne Scott Kermond is a quirky, tap-dancing vaudevillian and Timothy Woon astonishes with his illusions.

Director, Ilott, links acts with original songs by iOTA and the antics of dancing bunnies – who are waiting to be pulled out of a hat presumably.

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