The Circus Space Cabaret, The Combustion Chamber

Review in Issue 17-2 | Summer 2005

An ongoing monthly event in The Circus Space calendar, and a regular fixture in the annual Mime Festival diary, the January Circus Space Cabaret drew an audience of both circus-familiars and festival day trippers. The programme for the evening managed to satisfy both camps, presenting (as circus is so capable of doing, but often doesn’t) a series of imaginative contemporary acts that collectively proved that ‘art’ and entertainment are not mutually exclusive terms. Each bore its own relationship to the circus tradition: some acts were pure representations of well-executed skills, others were hybrid experiments in which visual theatre, dance and even puppetry worked in relationship with the traditional skills.

At the more purist end of the spectrum came the breathtaking acrobatic/acrobalance skills of Vietnamese duo Duo Dinh Anh and the heart-in-mouth tricks and turns of UK cradle/trapeze act Duo Vertigo; challenging perceptions of circus performance were the experimental puppetry/object manipulation/equilibrist Merlin Borg and the gothic extravaganza of dangling cabinets, swinging and swirling cream petticoats and sighing voice from Damien Gaumet and Mathilde Sebald (from Brussels).

Replacing injured wire-dancer Molly Saudek came kilted diaboloist Donald Grant, his skill-with-a-gimmick style more than entertaining enough to fill a gap, and gliding around on stilts were The Wrong Size, pretty as a picture with their glowing lights and swirling crinolines. But for me the cream of the crop were Lukaluka. This turquoise-and-orange clad boy-girl club juggling act (Ilka Licht from Germany and Luke Wilson from the UK) is a contemporary realisation of a classic circus/variety routine. Not only do they perform with an easy skill, the theatrical relationship between the two is maintained throughout their playfully flirtatious, tongue-in-cheek exchange. It’s a duet that’s also a duel; the weapons are clubs, raised eyebrows, dazzling smiles and snake-wriggling body moves The evening is glued together by the always-entertaining compere/performer Tim Bat. There are times when he seems a little flustered, but that only adds to his charm. And his trip-hopping hat and dog-walking yo-yo are gems on any cabaret bill.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-2
p. 27