Life – The Show
January 9, 2020
Given that the creative entity that is Strut & Fret is known for assembling superbly talented performers for their productions and that it has seen very successful stagings of their LIMBO and Cantina shows at previous incarnations of Sydney Festival, the expectations were high when it was announced that their journey and celebration of and through life would be part of the 2020 program.
It is never not a pleasure to step into the internationally touring Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent and the surrounding village that comes alive in Sydney’s Hyde Park as part of the annual festivities and its ambience is always a contributing factor. Certainly a suitable setting for the new decade that will hopefully be no less roaring than the original 20s when jazz-age flappers reigned supreme.
Life – The Show is essentially a close to ninety minutes fast paced two-act tour de force through the stages of life, e.g. birth, adolescence, adulthood, work life, et cetera, and the more abstract and often confusing concepts and conventions behind them.
Not wasting too much time on narration, the show is firmly focussed on a vaudevillian melange of burlesque, cabaret, theatrics, live music and song that is expertly executed by an ensemble that has honed its craft internationally, such as the formidable Goos Meeuwsen, who provides comic relief as the main protagonist, flanked by his counterpart Helena Bittencourt, both of which have become known for their work with Cirque du Soleil.
A highlight of the show is a mesmerising, and subtly erotic aerial routine where performed in a suspended plastic tube / “condom” the fluidity of which needs to be experienced to be believed.
Backed by a tight live band that is comprised of local jazz luminaries as well as constituents of bands like the Violent Femmes, the musical interludes not only provide seamless transitions between the individual acts but become a vital ingredient of the evening.
A varied show that brings a welcome fresh breeze with innovative and sharply choreographed routines, circus artistry, cabaret and acrobatics and which certainly constitutes a highlight of the 2020 Sydney Festival.