Unlike many circus performances, here the audience are offered a narrative. We began with a private investigator trying to solve a case, seeking out leads by talking to various dames. Following a little setup by our gumshoe, each of these femme fatales demonstrated a circus skill, which included fire twirling, contortion, ribbons, and suspended hoop. Each performer showed themselves competent in their discipline.
However, some acts lacked the feeling of risk and attending excitement seen in better shows of the genre. Whilst the format has potential, the story between acts is a bit slight, and the audience got around 45 minutes of show instead of the promised 60. This is not a great look given that a trip out to the Wonderland Spiegeltent means forsaking various other options in a packed Fringe. Punters scurrying from an earlier show might appreciate that your refuelling needs are catered for by a bar and food truck at the venue.
This is a young troupe and they should benefit from the touring experience. In particular, Spiegeltents aren’t known for great sight lines. I hope the company will learn that when there is no stage, action close to the floor becomes invisible (and a little frustrating) for those not seated at the front of the venue.
Still, there’s certainly some good material and promise for the company to build on. The pace of a juggling segment and a high-energy hoop routine brought enthusiastic audience applause. The use of sepia lighting provided an appropriately moody atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed the well-chosen crime-jazz musical selections that suited the acts and show’s overall theme.
Cirque Nocturne has a short Melbourne Fringe season. If you don’t catch them this time around, they’ll be an act to keep an eye on in the future as they further develop their identity.
Wonderland Spiegeltent, 699 La Trobe Street, Docklands
Performance: Friday 15 September 2017 – 9.30pm
Season continues to 17 September 2017
Image: courtesy of Cirque Nocturne
Review: Jason Whyte