The cast and co-creators of the international hit Cantina are back at the Adelaide Fringe with their newest offering – Scotch and Soda, a charmingly frenetic blend of circus and live music.
The collaborative talents of Company2 have assembled a polished and versatile troupe who raucously carry the audience away from their everyday troubles to an exciting, humorous and, at times, breathtaking burlesque circus fantasy.
The well-conceived characterisations were developed by co-directors Chelsea Mc Guffin, David Carberry and Ben Walsh, and the two creators, Mozes and Simon Mitchell.
The troupe conveys snippets and stories of wonder and delight with vagabond acrobats and dignified musicians. The show is suitably written for and played to a Spiegeltent audience in the round.
The show opens with a sleazy sigh of Balkan sax and strong gymnastic holds. Romantic and, occasionally, violently action balances with hilarious comedy relief from a wild-eyed, be clogged, dirty old vaudevillian.
The novice, played by shy young bass player Eden Ottignon, is transformed comically behind a sheet which cannot possibly cover everything in the round. Recycled litter is ingeniously adapted to a smooth soft shoe shuffle during a musical interlude.
The acrobatics are powerful and polished with dizzy overhead spinning from the trapeze, and there is a clever gymnastic poker dual and some thrilling see-saw tumbling (Chelsea Mc Guffin, David Carberry, Simon Mitchell, Moses and Daniel Crisp). This troupe also uses birds and bicycles to mesmerise with their acrobatic skills.
Lighting design by Daniel Black and sound by Katie Sweeney combine together to artistically compliment the show with sound levels well balanced around the room.
The tight band of brass (Lucian McGiness), reed, percussion and bass musicians fittingly supports the acrobatic action with spirited jazz, vaudeville and folk music in the style of the silent movie days. When you do finally hear saxophonist Justin Fermino grumbling a few blues verses they blare out of the silent vocal background, while a spot-lit Matthew Ottignon on bass clarinet spins slowly, transforming his instrument into a surreal didgeridoo. The climactic flow between numbers of manic physical energy and the more poignant moments leads the audience on a spectacular theatrical ride.
This show will appeal to anyone who ever secretly wanted to run away to the circus.
Reviewed by Mark Horner
Venue: Garden of Unearthly Delights – Aurora Spiegeltent, Rundle Park, Adelaide
Season: 18 February – 8 March 2015
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $40 – $44
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)