Limbo Unhinged, presented by Strut & Fret Production House, is the kind of act that ignites your childhood dreams to run away and join the circus. A feast for the eyes and ears, this striking production does all that is promises to do as it plunges the audience into a trance and puts on display some of the most awe-inspiring acrobatic and musical acts from around the globe.
This work is a progression of the similarly named Limbo by the same company and has been adding to its cast and acts steadily through its travels over the past several years.
I was lucky enough to see one of its earlier instalments as part of the Sydney Festival in 2015. I thoroughly enjoyed it then and would have been content to sit through the same production again but was surprised and delighted to see how amazingly it has developed. Whilst some of the same faces grace the stage, Limbo has added to its original cast a variety of new acts and talents making the final product seem to be a display of a daunting variety of skills to be performed by one group of people.
The production opens on a comedic note which is carried throughout the show giving a lovely depth to the intensity of the acts performed. Considering the wide variety of skills and the fact that almost all the performers were added independently of each other, the show has a fantastic collaborative nature and we often see the majority of the cast on stage together. Australian director Scott Maidment and his cast have hewn together the range of acts well and added some thoroughly entertaining group pieces. Whilst some of the intermissions between acts seemed like obvious fillers or misdirections in preparation for the next big act on stage it still carried its theme well throughout and rarely seemed to miss a beat or lose its momentum – the live score of music that was widely ranged yet performed primarily by only two very talented musicians, Mick Stuart and Sxip Shirey, contributed greatly to this achievement. Set and lighting designer, Philip Gladwell, must also be credited for the seamless way the cast used the rather unconventional space, making use of what seemed like more entrances and exits than there could have been and using the thrust stage as a a part of the space instead of the entire space itself. The lighting was consistent with the theme and feel of the evening, also making use of haze and other effects, all of which perfectly complimented the acts as well as the creative and dazzling costumes by James Browne.
Whilst there were some things I would’ve loved to see more of, overall it was a thrilling rollercoaster that often had me on the edge of my seat or wanting to cover my eyes. One of the highlights was the on-stage relationship between Mikeal Bres and Rémi Martin Lenz which constantly provided comedic relief and also culminated in a very entertaining acrobatic feat. The casts ability to keep the energy of the audience so consistently high throughout says huge amounts to their collective talent and presence as performers, and being a part of an audience that was so enraptured through the entirety of the show was quite exhilarating.
The night consisted of an extremely well-balanced variety of live music, instrumental and vocal performances, dancing, comedy and of course traditional stunt-work and acrobatics. Fantastic use was made of the Opera House’s Studio Theatre and they will be there until March 3rd. Limbo Unhinged is a must see for every audience member who ever wanted to feel like a part of something that seems completely out of this realm.
Abigail Honey – Theatre Now & On The Town