Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: The Black Masquerade

Spectacular circus and music entertainment

Spectacular circus and music entertainment

Presented by: CircAxe
Reviewed: 19 March, 2023

Chantelle Reed has been training young circus performers for three years now, through her Aldinga-based school South Coast Circus. A talented performer herself, she is a teacher beloved by students and parents alike, introducing a whole new generation to the continually evolving performing art of circus.

The Black Masquerade is presented through the performance arm, CircAxe. Along with husband and renowned musician Scott, Reed puts together productions which blend heavy metal, circus, operatic aesthetics, and special effects. And boy do they know how to put on a show!

The show’s start-time of 7.30 saw the gates open, allowing the audience to wander around the outside, mingling with roaming performers, some holding hoops, some working with fire, and all very much in character. This is a difficult job, and one which the mostly very young cast managed incredibly well. At 8 the main part of the show began, with screeching notes from Scott Reed’s guitar, atmospheric lighting and sound, and beautifully costumed performers. Reed himself in full steam-punk gear set the scene for a dark, mysterious, atmosphere. Occasional heads would pop up and stare ominously at the performers on stage. Facial expressions remained neutral, yet slightly threatening.

As for the main fare of the evening, the actual circus-work, the skill level was astounding. Most of the cast were very young, with one or two slightly older adults. But this was beyond just being impressed by “kids”. Each of the performers showed a professionalism beyond their years. Most of the work was aerial: hoop, trapeze, ribbon. As well as being spectacular, this was a great choice since the lack of raked seating made it difficult to see anything happening on the floor. If any angel-investor is reading this, maybe they could buy them some bleachers???

Both performances of Black Masquerade sold out, and it is easy to see why. This is entertainment that is certainly great for children, but also very much catered to the adults and general theatregoers.

Look out for the next performance by South Coast Circus/CircAxe, or they can be booked for private/corporate gigs.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten

Venue: South Coast Circus Aldinga
Season: Finished

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