Current Issue #488

It's the circus of Life

It's the circus of Life

The creators of Limbo, Blanc de Blanc and Cantina return with a new circus extravaganza about life.

Originally staged as part of last year’s Brisbane Festival, where it enjoyed a sold-out run, Life – the Show will arrive in Adelaide as the Garden of Unearthly Delights’ big-ticket circus offering. Created by Strut & Fret’s Scott Maidment, Life – the Show is a 90-minute circus spectacular split into two acts starring international clowns Goos Meeuwsen and Helena Bittencourt (Cirque du Soleil) alongside acrobats, burlesque performers, cabaret singers, dancers and musicians including saxophone player Blaise Garza (Violent Femmes).

“Having done shows like Limbo, Blanc De Blanc, and things where it is mostly just a crazy party, I had this idea about making a show called Life – the Show and it literally just started with the title,” Maidment says about the origins of the show. “If you’re reaching for that scale then you need to say something about life. The first part of the show is observational, it looks at the life of the everyday person; the second half of the show is a celebration of what is to be alive.”

Maidment says the beginning of the show is narrative-driven. The show’s leading clowns Meeuwsen and Bittencourt take you on a journey through life, which marks a change of direction for Strut & Fret, as they’re known primarily for spectacular acrobatic stunts and breathtaking set pieces.

Blaise Garza in Life – The Show (Photo: Mik Lavage)

“It’s not something that we’ve often done, and I think that audiences like that about Life, as they get to laugh at themselves and see bits of their own life in the first half.”

But it’s still a spectacle of Strut & Fret proportions.

“The end of the show is a colour explosion; the cast throw paint and holy powder everywhere and there are confetti and streamers and crazy chaos. I wanted to try and do something that was fun and celebratory. When we did it in Brisbane, people said they went from moments of laughing out loud to being moved and crying to getting up and partying at the end.”

Life – the Show features a three-piece band that includes American Blaise Garza who flies through the air while playing his saxophone as part of the show. Garza – who like fellow Violent Femmes member Brian Ritchie now calls Tasmania home and works at MONA – was stage-managing the Spiegeltent in Tasmania when he was introduced to Maidment.

“Scott had seen me perform with the Femmes before in Adelaide, actually at WOMADelaide,” Garza says. “He’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen you perform. Do you want to be in my new show?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure why not?’ A week before the first rehearsal, he said, ‘How do you feel about flying on a wire harness?’ ‘Sounds awesome!’”

Maidment says the cast and crew are looking forward to remounting Life – the Show after its 2018 season in Brisbane.

“Audiences just went crazy for it [in Brisbane], which is great for us, because it’s something really different to what we’ve done before. All the cast and crew are pretty amped to be doing it again.”

Life – the Show
Fortuna Spiegeltent, Garden of Unearthly Delights
Friday, February 15 to Sunday, March 17

Header image:
Mik Lavage

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