Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Limbo – The Return

Limbo has the seduction of Las Vegas, blended with the vaudeville light entertainment of European circus

Limbo has the seduction of Las Vegas, blended with the vaudeville light entertainment of European circus

Presented by: Strut & Fret

Reviewed: 29 February, 2024

A sexy vaudeville smorgasbord of circus, cabaret, dance, music and jaw-dropping acrobatics that will have your heart pounding in this blockbuster Fringe show as it headlines the 2024 Garden of Unearthly Delights lineup.

LIMBO – The Return has the sexiness and seduction of Las Vegas, blended with the vaudeville light entertainment of European circus, plus various genres of worldwide dance, and jaw-dropping feats of Olympic-level acrobatics.

The quirky, mad scientist-esque circus ringmaster (New York’s maestro Sxip Shirey) opens the evening with the show’s jazzy, up-tempo signature tune on a harmonica, followed by his passionate and light-hearted use of a hand-held air-raid siren. From here, the show explodes into a variety of theatrical dance, acrobatic and comedic routines from these performers, who come to Adelaide from various corners of the world.

There’s everything you could want within one Fringe show; slack-rope walking, mastered whip cracking, seductive and slinky fire-eating, harmonica rock songs, energetic jazz dancing, partial seductive nudity, mesmerising vocals, light routines utilising quick-moving hand-mirrors, comedic tap dancing, and gasp-inducing aerial chain routines. There’s something to impress everyone in LIMBO – The Return.

The acrobatic routines are definitely some of the most impressive that you will see at the Adelaide Fringe. These acrobatic moves also include smooth elements of contemporary dance, and lighter-hearted dance routines from these multi-skilled performers involve comedic tap, some sultry salsa moves, and seductive adults-only, exotic floor-work. These are all enhanced by a spectacular stage design which produces all of your performance-enhancing earthly elements, like wind, fire and light.

The routines grow in intensity and skill as the night goes on, building up to a climactic aerial-ish routine, akin to that of Australian Kate Miller-Heidke’s performance at Eurovision in 2019. As the music grows, the performers balancing above the crowd on tall, bending metal poles begin bigger moves and deeper dips, arching over the audience and in towards each other like tall flowers bending gracefully in the wind, while ambient sci-fi-like music fills the tent around them. The routine is spectacular, but bigger bursts of feathers (or even a white feather and confetti mixture) whirling through the air would definitely intensify the drama of the experience.

Alongside the more serious and jaw-dropping feats of physical strength within slower acrobatic and aerial routines, comedic relief is sprinkled throughout, but mostly drawn from the impressive energy and confidence of Australian acrobatic dancer, Hilton Denis. His love of interacting with the audience is obvious and he does it masterfully, ensuring everyone is having a good time with simple yet authentic interaction.

The production also has an impressive original soundtrack, which includes an array of up-beat jazzy tunes with French lyrics contrasting cohesively with slower, more dramatic and intense tunes, as well as eerie atmospheric sounds that help build the drama. These are played live enthusiastically by musicians Grant Arthur and Mick Stuart on an array of instruments, including a tuba, xylophone, acoustic guitar, drums, trumpet, and more. Some of the starring performers also dip their toes in the musical elements especially when it comes to vocals, with dramatic belting pitches and even rapidly pulsing beatboxing.

The wardrobe hints at fetish elements and helps to upsell the sexiness of the show, with performers wearing a scantily clad wardrobe including latex corsets, black knee-high boots, feather boas, transparent boudoir feathered robes, glittery corsets, and at some points, nothing at all.

The performer’s spectacular abilities, alongside the ringmasters rearing air-raid siren, will live on in your mind long after you’ve left the Spiegeltent and the less-alluring normality of the world returns.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Venue: The Spiegeltent – Garden of Unearthly Delights
Season: Until 17 March, 2024
Duration: 70 mins
Tickets: $60 – $85

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