Rouge at Underbelly Competition, London

This yr’s circus programme at London’s Underbelly Competition has been actually spectacular they usually’ve undoubtedly saved essentially the most raunchy, outrageous present for final.

Rouge, by Australia’s Highwire Leisure, is among the most ‘grownup’ circus-cabaret reveals that I’ve seen and it’s unattainable to not be seduced by this charismatic group.  The genre-defying present explores intercourse and relationships, from flirty silliness to the intricacies of sexual politics, and prides itself on a story of variety and inclusion.

Choreographer and performer Paul Westbrook units the tone for the night by encouraging the viewers to let free and be impressed by the debauchery that’s about to unfold, together with the promise of nakedness.

The present begins with a bang because the group seems altogether with the acrobats instantly leaping and balancing, main on to Paul’s ironic burlesque feather dance to Shirley Bassey’s Hey Huge Spender.  He’s a lovable chameleon who weaves the scenes along with talent, prowling and cantering across the stage, and his personal routines are flawless.

The mesmerising Issie Hart is a goddess-like imaginative and prescient in purple, performing a powerful operatic aria.  The sophistication continues with Jessie Mckibbin twirling on the trapeze in a purple gown that’s quickly forged off for one thing racier.  Her cyr wheel routine with Lyndon Johnson can also be elegant and beautiful, as they glide across the stage collectively coquettishly like younger lovers.

Issie’s vocals change seamlessly from operatic cabaret to soulful jazz when she performs Norah Jones’ Flip Me On to accompany a lonely ‘lamp’ ready for that particular somebody.  Additionally poignant is Lyndon and Paul’s strap routine, displaying aggression, playfulness and plenty of chemistry.  From right here onwards, Rouge turns into extra intense, horny and high-octane.

I received’t spoil the shock for you an excessive amount of, however because the present reaches peak naughtiness, each the female and male ‘lamps’ get bare whereas Jessie Mckibbin dominates and whips her unruly, leather-clad unicorn boys and finds a cheeky use for a carrot.

It’s exhausting to select a favorite scene, however I cherished Jessie’s hearth routine, spinning blazing sizzling batons and rolling the flames down her physique.  A powerful finish to the present is Madison Burleigh’s nimble acrobatics as she balances the other way up and leaps between the sturdy and focussed Liam deJong and Lydon Johnson.

Rouge is the present that has all of it – mind-blowing acrobatics, unbelievable dwell singing, an enticing forged, cheeky humour and a optimistic message.  It’s simply so likeable and you actually really feel a part of their hedonistic social gathering.

Rouge runs at Underbelly Competition till seventh July.  For extra data and reserving, go to:

All photographs by Ian Georgeson


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