Fear and Delight | Strut & FretPhoto – Eline Vyncke

Waiting excitedly outside the Arcadia tent, dressed accordingly in the theme of ‘black vs. white’ you find yourself adrift in a sea of contrasting colours and conflicting emotions. You strain your neck in anticipation to peer inside the dark realms of the unknown. An usher greets you at the entrance and announces: “Welcome to Fear and Delight, please open your hand.” You promptly obey and are given a single capsule filled with golden glitter, directed to a table of individual shot cups that bear the sign ‘drink me’ and you know this may be the closest you come to falling down the rabbit hole.

You have certainly entered into feelings of fear and delight now as you wander through the weird and wonderful world they have created inside Arcadia. A single hand clad in a black satin glove appears out of hole and beckons you over; you lean in for a closer look and you are given a treat. You approach ‘the altar’; the ‘priest’ gives you a spoonful of blood in exchange for your communion. Skulls, secrets and slime are served up and you are left feeling dazed and confused. Just in time for the mayhem that ensues. The theatre of food and performance are seamlessly entwined and for the remainder of the evening you know you will be at the mercy of the weird and whacky characters that circle and surround you. Saying too much would spoil the surprise.

The lights are cut and enter the eerie red glow of light as the haunting vocals of Mr. Bruce boom out over the stage, joined by a myriad of androgynous, burlesque infused performers. The other half of UK Band The Correspondents is DJ/Producer ‘Chucks’, standing behind the decks and looming over the stage, commanding the world below. Credit must also be given to the talented drummer Holly Madge who has teamed up with the cast of Fear and Delight for this string of shows.   

With the atmosphere of a classic cult horror/comedy performance this show has no ease-in phase, just hard and fast straight from the get-go and you find yourself trying to look at everything and everyone, all at once. It’s a definite feel of beautiful versus uncomfortable as you watch the performers fight against harsh settings with such fluid movement. Male performers strutting and dancing in heels, heavy wind and smoke machines battling with performers tied up and gagged as aerial artists swing above the audience in skinny jeans and bondage ropes. There is a strong underground feel, making it almost seem like you have snuck into a fetish club to see how ‘the other side’ lives. Do you like what you see? Perhaps you should stay, and see what other debauchery you can get up to in this sensual, secretive and sometimes scary stage show that is as witty as it is spooky. If I said ‘Beetlejuice’ three times would he appear and be my plus one for tonight?

This international cast from every corner of the globe have come together to perform with company Strut and Fret and have drawn elements from internationally renowned circus performance companies, with many of the cast having previously performed shows with circus mega giant ‘Cirque Du Soleil’. There is no shortage of that same whimsical meets technical element that the new generation of circus goers’ have come to love. With costumes that range from simple to scary, black vs. white is heavily themed as you hear the melodic words sung out over the stage “In public I am sweetness and light but I am different in the cover of night” which again plays into that underground fetish feel, but assures you to be brought back to the witty realm with laughable clown (created by Spencer Novich) addressing ringmaster Mr. Bruce’s outfit as “You look like Tim Burton had sex with a clam”. You are sure to be giggling as much as gasping throughout this performance.

As a whole experience; the Devil’s Banquet, the Show, and the inspired cocktail list you are sure to encounter a night of sensory overload. You need to ask yourself, are you ready to fall?

2015 Brisbane Festival
Fear & Delight
Strut & Fret

Director Scott Maidment

Venue: South Bank – Cultural Forecourt | Melbourne Street, South Brisbane QLD
Dates: 4 – 25 Sep 2015
Tickets: Show $50 – $60 | The Devil's Banquet $120 – $160
Bookings: www.brisbanefestival.com.au/