Adelaide Fringe Review 2019: NEON

Who: Circus Oz

Where: Corona Theatre, at The Garden of Unearthly Delights

When: 15 Feb – 3 March

Cost: from $35 – see website for details and purchasing

Ah, the 80s – the era of mullets, aerobics, legwarmers, and synth-pop. Despite being born well after the end of the decade, I’m obsessed with all things fabulously 1980s, and judging by the current retro revival in popular culture – from Stranger Things to the resurgence of mum jeans – I’m not alone. It’s no surprise that the charm, camp, and cringe of the 80s is a natural fit for Circus Oz, a troupe known for their irreverent Aussie humour and tongue-in-cheek approach to circus theatrics. In NEON, Circus Oz turn the dial up to 11 and blend circus acts, dance, and comedy with oodles of outrageous enthusiasm for the decade of excess.

Don’t be fooled by the smaller scale of the show and its minimal usage of sets and props. The cast of NEON explode onto the stage with enough energy to fill a room triple the size. Lurid fluorescent leotards and pulsing synthesizers of 80s classics make the sensory overload complete. Expect to see wild acrobatic aerobics, a raunchy gender-flipped version of the ‘Simply Irresistible’ music video, and a beautiful Prince tribute with purple (of course) aerial silks.

The beauty of NEON is how well it seamlessly blends dance and character moments with its circus acts. At no point do the performers simply execute tricks whilst forgetting that they’re in an 80s cabaret show. Every spin, jump, and handstand is accompanied by a waggle of the eyebrow or a bawdy hip thrust, and punctuated by hilariously cheesy Flashdance-style moves. Tying it all together is the marvellous MC, a larger-than-life diva with a bright orange wig and an enormous voice to match (her rendition of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ absolutely brought the house down!).

If you love the 80s, make sure you don’t miss this riotous night of blue moustaches, pink contour, big hair, and high-energy theatrics.

4/5 stars

Tamika Glouftsis

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