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Oracle – theatre review

Zodiac mythology binds together 12 acts that are a fusion of circus, burlesque and dance in Oracle. It is the work of the team behind the award-winning Matador. Pulsating, toe-tapping, beats are the order of the day, along with a cavalcade of colourful and risqué costuming and athletic and acrobatic feats on and above the stage.

Photos by Ben Vella

Among the many highlights is the artistry, strength, agility, fluidity and stamina of two brothers with the same mother but different fathers – one mortal and the other not. Theirs is the story of the formation of the constellation Gemini, which is second up in the first act and sets a very high bar of excellence. So, too, the muscular bull who falls in love with a beautiful, lithe princess, the pair forming an inseparable union that becomes Taurus two scenes later.

My appreciation of the offering grew even further after interval. That is when much of the material was truly mesmerising. I speak of a female Hercules fire eating and strutting about the stage in skimpy attire as if she owned the place. All eyes are on a cheeky pole dancer in the highest of high gold platform shoes. A remarkable juggler shows balance extraordinaire when he performs with as many as seven golden hula hoops. That is not to overlook a spectacular scaling of a rope to virtually the roof of the Playhouse, making it look as effortless as a gentle afternoon stroll. Quite remarkable.

Clearly a great deal of thought has gone into the creativity that is the hallmark of Oracle. My only caveat concerns the music often drowning out the spoken word that forms part of the narrative arc. It became a competition, with the storyline – such that it is – virtually lost. Mind you, that is an easy fix. An adjustment to the sound level at appropriate junctures is all it would take.

Other than that, the appreciative audience is on side throughout. We are encouraged not to stay silent and there’s whooping and hollering aplenty, a sure sign that a good time is being had. And when all 18 performers assemble for the finale, a standing ovation follows.

Written, directed and produced by Bass G Fam, Oracle is playing at the Princess Theatre in Brisbane from 13th to 16th January and Gluttony in Adelaide, as part of Adelaide Fringe, from 18th February to 20th March.

Alex First

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