Reviewed by Jenna Bradwell, Student Marketing Officer at the University of Sydney
Sexy. Seedy. Smoky. Seductive. LIMBO is circus as you've never seen it before. Set smack bang between heaven and hell, this Sydney Festival sellout is an intoxicating shot of heady beats, hot bodies and hardcore talent.
LIMBO's a gritty, vaudeville-infused fusion of circus, cabaret and acrobatics doused in a killer soundtrack of sousaphone, harmonica and beatbox fronted by New York's Sxip Shirley. Music is the real Ring Master of LIMBO. The first beat's the warning sign you're about to fall to another world.
From contortionist Phillip Tigris, who bends and flips his body like a Rubik's Cube, to the sweeping grace Mikael Bres' dance up a Chinese pole, LIMBO showcases the freakish, the angelic, and everything in-between.
Danik Abishev's jail-break act, which sees him balance on a row of vertical bars, will leave you aghast. As if balancing his whole weight and titling his body to a perfect right angle isn't enough, he somehow manages to hop, one-handed at lightening speed across the rungs of the cage before making his great escape.
Cue the audience's collective "wow".
Equally impressive is the aerial ballet number where three chiseled acrobats sway across the room on poles, leaning so far back into the audience you'll feel drops of sweat hit your face. Hilton Denis' frantic tap-dance will bewitch you, and, his rap / hip-hop number? Certainly one you won't forget in a hurry...
But let's not forget the leading ladies of LIMBO, Evelyne Allard and pint-sized pinup Heather Holliday. These. Girls. Are. Fierce. You'll be mesmerised by Allard's aerial hoop acrobatics as she kicks and weaves herself through the air like a spider spinning a web. As for Holliday? Well, this girl is on fire - literally. This chick can swallow swords as long as your arm. And firesticks too. The act where Holliday prances down the stage, sends a series of flaming sticks down her throat and sets the stage alight will have you on the edge of your seat. Hold on when she sends Abishev up a wooden ladder and watches him balance on its legs as it burns to the ground. You just might fall off.
The fabulous 1920s Spiegeltent provides the perfect setting for LIMBO, it's mirrored columns, heavy velvet curtains and hazy atmosphere adding to the show's sensory overload. This is a showcase of the human body, a sideshow that swallows heaven and hell and spits them out in a pulsating, dirty soundtrack of funk. This is a freak show that will leave you breathless.
Lean back. Hold tight. LIMBO's one hell of a ride.
The Spiegeltent, Sydney Festival Village
9 to 26 January