In the follow up to their smash-hit Empire, Spiegelworld present their latest wayward circus/burlesque spectacular – Absinthe.
Absinthe, of course, is better known as that notorious green spirit synonymous with the Bohemian counterculture of 19th century Paris, with a reputation for inducing psychedelic hallucination and for being highly addictive. If last nights performance is anything to go by, I might just be hooked.
Absinthe is emceed by The Gazillionaire – a grotesque creation of former Cirque du Soleil clown, Voki Kalfayan – with support from his dirty-mouthed sidekick, Penny Pibbetts (Anais Thomassian). While it’s never explained exactly how The Gazillionaire made his fortune, he is clearly nouveau riche, and effortlessly manages to offend gays, lesbians, Asians, Jews and liberal middle-aged white guys – all within the first 5 minutes. The Gazillionaire keeps the show moving along at a cracking pace and artfully manages the audience participation/mortification segments as cover for the plain-sight scene changes.
Aside from the linking routines by The Gazillionaire and Penny, the show is made up of some spectacular boutique circus acts, combining balance and strength, with cheeky, risqué humour and plenty of bare flesh. None of the acts disappoint, but some of the highlights for me were Andrei Sizonenka and Aliasandra Yurkavets as the Human Foosball (double Horizontal Bars), Jacob Oberman and Maika Isogawa in a beautiful routine on the Duo Straps, and the Frat Pack who generated genuine tension as a high wire act … on a high wire act. Kalfayan and Thomassian also return to perform their hilariously bad-taste homage to Roman dance, the Caesarean Ballet.
Playing as part of the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the show takes place in a restored Spiegeltent on the roof of Crown Casino. The Spiegeltent holds an astonishing 700 seats, and yet retains a genuine sense of intimacy, with the audience no more than a few feet from the action. Indeed, it is the tiny stage that generates so much of the shows dangerous energy – the close proximity to the performers means you get to see every muscle and hear every breath.
Originally directed by Wayne Harrison, this is a terrific production and another triumph for the Spiegelworld team. Their earlier work Empire reportedly sold 200,000 tickets in Australia alone, and is now currently touring the world. Absinthe has been playing to full houses and rave reviews at Caesars Palace since 2011. This Australian Tour has already taken in Newcastle and after the Melbourne season, tours to Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. Don’t miss it!
2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Under the Spiegeltent on the Rooftop at Crown Melbourne
Dates: March 21 – April 5, 2015
Tickets: $54 – $154
Also touring nationally. Visit – www.absintheaustralia.com
ABSINTHE is recommended for ages 15 and above. The performance features some nudity and strong language.