A cooler blend of culture

‘Rouge’ is red-hot circus cabaret; perfect for the Fringe-uninitiated

After a couple of weeks of viewing shows at Perth’s Fringe Festival, you begin to think you’ve seen it all before. A girl twirling 12 glittering hoops. A guy swirling around a greased pole. A drag queen imitating a frazzled soccer mum. And so on. At times, you’ve got to stop yourself mid-sigh to realise that although a lot of the acts are similar from show to show, the individual feats themselves are still remarkable.

It’s when an artist or troupe takes a variety of acts and combines them into something slickly choreographed and aesthetically coordinated that you begin to get excited again. And so that was the feeling I got upon viewing Rouge.

If you think you’ve seen it all before at Fringe, I urge you to still see ‘Rouge’ where you get all the familiar acts and tricks under one tent, delivered with slickness, spunk and style.

Dubbed a ‘circus for grownups’, Rouge picks up where other circus acts leave off, but doubles the doses of spot-on choreography and sexiness. The show kicks off with a might belting-out by opera singer Isabel Hertaeg, drenched in red, which appears to be the colour theme for the show, hence its title.

Hertaeg’s singing is so good, I actually wondered if some of it was lip-synched to tape. She also does a dandy good job keeping her spunky boys in check, each of them taking turns under the spotlight to tumble, twirl, trapeze, or swing.

Rouge has a knack of taking an act we’ve seen before and delivering differently. The giant cyr wheel, for example, which is ordinarily tackled by one person, is suddenly fought over by a couple of circus troopers expressing a classical tale of love.

Even when the female artist is in the wheel alone, it’s awesome to note what difference a flowing dress makes to the cyr aesthetic compared to the usual tight-clad-dude-looking-like-a-Da-Vinci-drawing.

That said, the body beautiful is celebrated big-time in Rouge: stunningly sculpted female bodies earn plenty of whoops from the crowd, while perfectly toned male bods garner their lot of wolf whistles, and gender roles are turned on their heads as boy flirts with girl flirts with girl flirts with madame flirts with boys and on and on.

If you think you’ve seen it all before at Fringe, I urge you to still see Rouge where you get all the familiar acts and tricks under one tent, delivered with slickness, spunk and style.

If you’ve not been to Fringe much and want to see some of the more common practises under these tents (aerial tricks, acrobatic acts, gender-deconstructing), then Rouge is the show to see them in, each perfectly played out. ★★★★1/2

Antonino Tati

 

For the full Fringe World program and ticket bookings, visit www.fringeworld.com.au.

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