Cantina @ The Spiegeltent (Brisbane Festival) 5th September 2010 – Live Review

Review: Lana Harris

[Image courtesy Brisbane Festival]

Have you heard the one about the Spiegeltent? A girl and a guy walk into this travelling bar – a pointy topped sphere shaped by mirrors, wood and glass. Golden poles, blood red velvet curtains swooping overhead, low lighting and dancing shadows. Smoky. Drinks service on the curve, booths hugging the circumference. A big-top boudoir with an audience.

The girl and the guy start out cautious in this ringmaster’s playground. They clamber carefully onto the high wire – wobble and steady, wobble and steady. She wears a pair of lasciviously red heels as she teeters. The shoes return sporadically throughout the acts, as do the scene setting ukulele and tinkling pianola. Music through out invokes alternately past, present and future – offered in no particular order. Subject to whims and acrobatics, time periods depart and return often.

Women shimmy, an accordion is heard. The whole space gives way to a contortionist’s bloomers. Twisting flesh, rubber spined – the floral skirt had no hope of containing the frilly pants and barely even tried. Now, look! A jewellery box has been opened, a girl dances inside. Gracefully, but…wait. Surely that leg doesn’t go there. The body turns to ribbons, the dancer as pliable as soft wax, twisting the way other bodies can’t, floating with dreamy melancholy through impossible poses until she melts completely away and a new girl fills her space. She is a different doll, the floppy rag doll tossed carelessly from man to man.

No facet of the room goes unused as the magician clambers to the top of a piano. Performers return to the air again and again, supported and not, filling the spaces above their audiences heads. There’s nudity. Rope. Spinning. Roller-skates. Blindfolds. The combinations these make: well, some of the secrets of the circus cannot be revealed. You must see for yourself. Suffice to say, the bodies, sleights of hand, feats against gravity: there will be something your eyes haven’t seen before. There will be gasps, emitted audibly not from a corner of the room (in the big top, there is none) but from the looped seating around their circular stage as the 360° dance goes on.

Come early to the Spiegeltent, the atmosphere is worth it. Stay late: The Cantina is open for your business.

Review: Lana Harris

Indie Music at Spiegeltent – Brisbane Festival 2010

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