Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: SOMNIA

SOMNIA takes the audience on a late-night, raunchy journey into the low-lit, cabaret-filled world of magical dreamscapes and frightful nightmares.

Late night, adult fun for those after glamorous costumes, bold and brash cabaret moves, aerial acrobatics and a whole lot of skin.
3.5

Presented by The Redhead Cabaret

Reviewed 6 March 2021

SOMNIA takes the audience on a late-night, raunchy journey into the low-lit, cabaret-filled world of magical dreamscapes and frightful nightmares.

The narrative of sleeplessness begins with the show’s innocent protagonist climbing into bed, but struggling to fall asleep. A tall, majestic woman enters the room – a halo of lights surrounds her face, her dress as black as night is illuminated with tiny stars and her shoulders balance colour-changing clouds. This is the show’s bold and belting singer and semi-narrator for the night, who places herself behind the protagonist’s bed as the dreams and nightmares of SOMNIA begin.

Each act brings something different to the show, following within the loose narrative of dreamscapes, nightmares and the magic within a dark night. Examples include a goddess-like, moon princess ascending to her suspended crescent moon via a ladder of fluffy white clouds. As the ladder is whisked away, the performer bends and stretches in incomprehensible ways while suspended in the air above the stage, dancing around the moon – a jaw-dropping dreamscape routine for the audience. In contrast, one of the later routines, in collaboration with heavy, Marilyn Manson-like music, sees a leather straps-bound woman, in gigantic black heels and not much else, crawl out from underneath the protagonist’s bed, fulfilling a nightmare aspect of the show. She torments the protagonist who is hiding under the covers, before sauntering her way around the stage with a fearsome confidence and seducing the audience, before letting literal sparks fly (you’ll have to see the show to know what I’m talking about).

The soundtrack compliments the narrative around sleep and dreaming; the classic Mr Sandman by The Chordettes plays as a fun and friendly, pink-wigged star in towering, glittery heels captivates the sleepless lead, as well as the audience. A xylophone rendition of Enter Sandman by Metallica also entertainingly fills the venue during one of the prop changes, and a clever mash-up of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army helps to end the show with a bang.

An absolute highlight of the SOMNIA is an aerial routine performed in and around a large, red suspended net as powerful, battle-like music fills the tent. This incredible aerial routine resulted in loud, audible gasps and impressed with the immense amounts of strength it would require to perform. Another aerial duet towards the end of the show was also impressive, but unfortunately lacked symmetry in places that would have taken it to another level. This was followed by the lighting cutting just before the show’s sleepless protagonist, flying high above the audience in a floating bowl of water, had properly finished the final act, which detracted from what could have been a much stronger finish.

It was also unfortunate that the loud, up-beat music of HUGHMAN permeated through the tent that SOMNIA inhabits, detracting from the magical atmosphere that the show was attempting to create. When it should have been silent, mimicking the silence of a dark night and building suspense within the space, breaks were instead filled with pop songs from the venue nearby, bringing the audience back to reality instead of keeping them in this magical world.

SOMNIA is a raunchy cabaret ride through both dreamscapes and haunting nightmares, with aerial acts, bold body movements and plenty of skin on show and is a fun way to finish your night at the Fringe.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Venue: The Peacock at Gluttony, Rymill Park, Adelaide

Season:  5th – 20th March 2021

Duration: 60 mins

Tickets: $18 – $23

Bookings: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/somnia-af2021

Rating out of 5: 3.5

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