Adelaide Fringe. Strut and Fret Production House. Magic Mirror Spiegeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. 19 Mar 2017
Perhaps seeing all of Strut and Fret’s shows is a bad thing? Perhaps one’s expectations are harder to meet when the company has already produced so much outstanding content? Like a sequel that fails to live up to the original.
The latest offering from the Strut and Fret Production House is entitled Blanc de Blanc, and is an homage to French champagne. The show is a celebration of that bubbly beverage, and the performers all take on their characters with guts and gusto.
Every one of them is extremely talented, absolutely gorgeous; supremely fit, and specialises in their own unique brand of entertainment, be it circus, clowning, acrobatics, contortion, comedy, or burlesque. But it seems they have all been thrust into a show which lacks a solid vision; the excitement and risk that has made Strut and Fret famous, fails to materialise for very long.
There are some really great acts in this show, and one hears people speak of them in absolute awe – a gravity defying pole performance in a concierge’s luggage trolley; the spectacular antics of a hula-hooping contortionist; a graceful and sexy mid-air dance between two soap soaked acrobats suspended from The Magic Mirror Spiegeltent – but this list is exhaustive. That is all of the truly edgy acts you are likely to see (Note: this performance didn’t feature Shun Sugimoto). Like an action packed film trailer you’ve just heard all the best bits. The rest of the 2 hour production feels a lot like self-indulgent fluff and filler; a selfie-break mid-show allows the audience to take photos with the performers, most of us awkwardly sit and watch!
Loosely based on champagne, and full of little dance interludes that are more like connective tissue than acts, Blanc de Blanc doesn’t really showcase the specialist skills of anyone, other than Spencer Novich and his perfectly timed comedy genius. One finds oneself waiting for something to happen… and being disappointed when nothing does.
The show is fast paced and high energy. It has all of the expected production values of a Strut and Fret show; spectacular sound and lighting, amazing costumes, and slick stage production. It is, however, not particularly well suited for the round, with much of the action on the main stage and almost everything performed out front.
For the most part the audience get into the celebration of champagne and they seem to love it. All of the feedback seems to have been positive, so one returns to the opening of this review to ponder why we failed to be inspired.
Blanc de Blanc didn’t seem to have the dynamics of its predecessors. It does have a lot more nudity, and as exciting as that can be, the novelty quickly wears off. Despite all this it still appears to be winning the praises of audiences and critics alike.
When: 19 Mar
Where: Magic Mirror Spiegeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Bookings: Closed. Tour continues around the country