ABSINTHE by Spiegelworld – reviewed by Deb Meyer

September 20, 2015 by Deb Meyer
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Few circus companies do subversive and sexy as well as the Spiegelworld team.

Karla Tonkichwith (Green Fairy), photo by Mark Turner

Karla Tonkichwith (Green Fairy), photo by Mark Turner

In their newest production to come to Sydney, ABSINTHE continues their adult-themed cocktail of circus, comedy, burlesque and vaudeville, taking their inspiration from the absinthe-drenched cabarets of late 19th century Europe.

Bringing self-confessed ridiculousness and naughty shenanigans, the Gazillinionaire leads his troupe with comedic fun and cheeky banter with the audience, no holds barred. There’s references to gays, lesbians, Hebrews, Nazi’s, Asians and even liberal supporters. All in the name of light entertainment. Some of it very funny. A lot of it, below the belt. But that’s what Spiegelworld is about – bringing a show that pokes fun, is provocative, sexy and doesn’t take itself seriously.

Andrii Kalashnyk, Dmytro Bilogubets, Oleksandr Orlov and Bogdan Kalashnyk (The Lost Souls), photo by Mark Turner

Andrii Kalashnyk, Dmytro Bilogubets, Oleksandr Orlov and Bogdan Kalashnyk (The Lost Souls), photo by Mark Turner

The role of the Gazillionaire’s assistant Abbey Bobbins is played with great flair and humour, through playful physicality and delivering the more crass lines in the show. Along with the Gazillionaire, both spew out sexual and vulgar dialogue that’s both disgusting, embarrassing and funny at the same time, leaving the audience in fits of laughter.

The international cast of performers are all highly talented, delivering controlled and theatrically styled performances, in between the occasional shots of Absinthe. There are skilful acrobats from the Ukraine and USA, a German female duo on the aerial hoop in a sexy school girl routine and the American ‘Frat Pack’ on the high wire.

Australian singer and dancer Karla Tonkich delivers a standout performance, entertaining the crowd with a knock out voice, cheeky style and sex appeal. Other standout acts include the duo from Belarus, Andrei Sizonenka and Aliaksandr Yurkavets (Los Dos Tacos) who swing, spin and flip simultaneously from the double horizontal bars, highlighting their stellar careers as awarded gymnasts.

Michal Nowosadko and Zbigniew Sobierajski (Duo Creative), photo by Mark Turner

Michal Nowosadko and Zbigniew Sobierajski (Duo Creative), photo by Mark Turner

The Polish duo Michal Nowosadko and Zbigniew Sobierajski (Duo Creative) also captivates the audience with their controlled artistry displaying incredible strength, concentration and balance and the duo from the USA on the high straps, Jacob Oberman, who is Jewish, and Maika Isogawa effortlessly float and glide high above the audience in a romantic and elegant display.

As with EMPIRE, the creators’ previous spiegeltent show which drew record-breaking crowds in Australia last year, audience interaction is a highlight. This time, audience members are called up for a lap dancing competition, all in the spirit of good fun, which is very comical indeed.

Spiegelworld’s founder, Ross Mollison has put together a slick team, including Australian Tour Director Daniel Kells (Resident Director of ABSINTHE in Las Vegas), choreographer Tracie Morley and costume designer Angus Strathie. Impressive lighting design by Ginger Corbett and an eclectic mix of music, produced by Jamie Siegel, all contribute to a tightly polished production.

ABSINTHE has made a big name for itself in Los Vegas, playing to sold-out audiences at Caesar’s Palace since 2011, claiming celebrities regularly flock to join the audience. The shows’ promotional headline “If you only see one show in your entire life, make it ABSINTHE” (Huffington Post, USA) brings high expectations. This reviewer much preferred EMPIRE, with a greater range of acts, more exciting choreography and costume design, and overall a more technically and artistically more impressive production.

The Spiegeltent in Hyde Park is as other worldly and intimate as EMPIRE. With its tiny, circular stage and engaging performance in the round, this 90 minute slick show is likely to attract similar crowds and for the open-minded, seeking a fun and irreverent night out, this will certainly satisfy.

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From September 15, 2015

Under the Spiegeltent, Hyde Park, corner of Park and College Streets, Sydney

Performances: Tues/Wed – 8.00pm, Thu/Fri/Sat – 7.30pm & 9.30pm, Sun – 5pm & 7pm

Tickets: Tue/Wed/Thu – $54-$134*, Fri/Sat/Sun – $64-$154*

A special VIP ticket is available which includes seating in the front two rows and a complimentary beverage

Bookings: www.ticketek.com.au

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