Not since the ground-breaking show Empire in 2013 have I been so totally engrossed in the daring do and dexterity of performers at the very top of their game in an intimate environment. That is what you get when you enter the beautiful, 120-seat, 97-year-old Spiegeltent, uncovered in Belgium, that has now taken pride of place in Sorrento. You can sit literally centimetres away from the stage, if you would care to, which is barely two metres round.
For locals and holidaymakers, Limbo Up Close is a must see show. Those who didn’t catch it during the Melbourne Festival should take a trip down Peninsula Link because, I offer this assurance – you won’t be disappointed. Adults and children alike are left amazed and excited. In fact, there is so much jammed into the action and entertainment filled hour that a second visit is warranted. I am longing to see it again. It really is that good.
Limbo Up Close is a blend of cabaret, burlesque, circus and acrobatics that keeps on coming at you, act after act seamlessly blending into each other. It is sexy, a little saucy and altogether intoxicating. What strikes you immediately is just how good looking the cast is and that is before you even get to see them in action. The seven – five men and two women – are multi-talented. They perform seemingly extraordinary feats, they play instruments and they sing. The original music is instantly engaging, toe tapping and energising. Three of the men are so ripped you could iron shirts on their washboard stomachs.
I am hesitant to reveal too much about what they get up to because I walked in knowing nothing about the show and wandered out all the richer for the experience. Suffice to say, pole acrobatics and hand balancing like you have never seen before, contortion and tap dancing are all part of the repertoire. There are a succession of remarkable manoeuvres in which the artists use only the weight and agility of their own bodies to wow the crowd.
Born and raised in a traditional Russian circus family, Danik Abishev began performing in the circus at the age of four. Hilton Denis is a regular dancer for Timomatic and his smile is infectious. Frenchman Mikael Bres has travelled the world with circus companies, including Cirque du Soleil and appears to be a jack-of-all-trades – acrobatics, dance, theatre, musical instruments and vocals. Then there is New York native Heather Holliday, an exotic beauty, swallows not one but two large swords, before eating and breathing fire. Canadian Evelyne Allard has also performed with Cirque du Soleil. She is equally at home swinging from the rafters and playing the piano accordion.
Talking of musical prowess – Eamon McNelis began playing the trumpet at age eight and he is one seriously talented muso, as is self taught drummer, guitarist and saxophonist Mick Stuart. Direction comes from Scott Maidment, while the composer and musical director is Sxip Shirey.
Limbo Up Close is about constant movement and sound and colour. As I intimated, it is cheeky and irreverent and, as a result of that, a whole heap of fun. James McPherson and his fellow producers Simon Myers, Anthony Healey and Belinda Visser are to be congratulated for bringing such immense talent to the coast. So, now it simply up to you to buy your tickets before the show closes on January 25th.
Venue: The Spiegel Zelt, Sorrento, Victoria
Dates: to 25 January 2016
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television