Scotch + Soda is a perfectly dear performance, mostly family friendly but for some accidentally-on-purpose willy wobbling. Soft flopping schlongs are inherently comical and when one flops out unexpectedly, well that’s funnier still. It happens quite early on in the show, too. There’s also an erotically charged ‘fight scene’ between a couple, a performance with the energy of a tango that mightn’t resonate with children, otherwise, it’s the sort of thing you could take everybody to.
The grubby aesthetic of Scotch + Soda is endearing, the daggy baggy undies, old singlets, nanna knickers and outfits that could be repurposed military uniforms in subdued colours set the tone, creating a look that’s something along the lines of depression-era bush ranger meets gypsy carnies.
Company 2 combines with musicians Ben Walsh and jazz virtuoso Matt Ottington playing with The Crusty Suitcase Band to produce a fabulous kind of ‘gypsy junk’ music. The music accompanies, nay drives even, the antics on stage. It is magical and fun and has you tapping along to irresistible jazzy, ragtime, klezmer, bluesy gypsy rhythms. The symbiosis between music and movement is central to the show and creates an intense feeling of engagement in the audience. You hear some bizarre instruments in this show including a wooden drum box and a weird stringed table-like contraption with a slight Theremin kind of sound to it.
Circus-wise there’s lots of tumbling, a human mountain and impressive feats of strength and balancing, bottle walking on brown beer bottles, cycling, roller skating. The circus tricks are real daredevil antics, especially the strong man balancing stints and the aerial work. The teeter-boarding performances make you want to rush up on stage and join in the bouncing. There’s a beautiful moment with the budgies under a tent made of netting, with soft and mysterious lighting reminiscent of candle light. The budgies cheep a lot during their cute performance and you can’t escape the feeling that they’re enjoying themselves. It’s a sweet, slow interlude, and in nice contrast to the rest of the mayhem.
People are raving about this show and there will be no dissenting voices here. Thoroughly lovely and exciting.
2015 SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival
Scotch + Soda
Directed by Chelsea McGuffin, David Carberry and Ben Walsh
Venue: Dodds St Stage, Festival Hub
Dates: 11 – 15 Feb, 2015