Posts Tagged ‘spiegeltent


Limbo Unhinged


Limbo Unhinged

Brisbane Festival

The Courier Mail Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent

September 8 – 30 2017


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward



70 minutes of sizzling, sexy, adult circus and cabaret returns to the magnificent Spiegeltent at Brisbane Festival. Strut & Fret, it seems, can do no wrong; the formula and style perfected, the audience lapping up every moment. With only a slight dip in energy and drive, while Remi Martin, in the clown role (no, he’s not scary or silly), spends several minutes miming various approaches to opening an imaginary door. It’s the preset to one of the better pole routines we’ve seen in a while, a sensational display of strength and grace in the most masculine way. Other than this precursor, there’s no lull and we love the spectacle of circus trained sculpted bodies, Heather Holliday’s magnificent fire breathing, sword swallowing and light sabre swallowing (Will we see it glow? We see it glow!), stunning aerials, superb vocals and the graceful, swaying, verging-on-death-defying Chinese Poles. Is it any wonder that there are gasps from the crowd beneath, as the artists dip low enough to give someone a quick kiss on the cheek?!



Limbo Unhinged is everything we desire in circus right now – we’ve talked about this before – with so many offerings, the best of them in terms of content, style and audience appeal, are still Cirque du Soleil, Casus, Company2 and Scott Maidment’s Strut & Fret, since 1997, delivering on their manifesto to make artistic experiences “breath-taking, heart-gripping, unforgettable and entertaining”. 



And where their Blanc De Blanc fails to capture the imagination (others loved it but I’ve always found it slightly less tasteful), Strut and Fret’s Limbo and Limbo Unhinged both offer a level of sophistication and sexiness that we demand now in circus and cabaret – there’s no going back to cheap vaudeville stunts unless they can be sold as brilliant parody or a little nod to nostalgia.


Sxip Shirey plays a starring role on vocals and a variety of instruments, leading a fabulous band. He’s a quirky figurehead, the lively persona of all upbeat components of the work, which would be nothing without his original compositions and zany personality. But the acrobats also play, stepping in and out of the band to jam at this big, bold party while someone else takes a starring role on stage. 



There’s really something for everyone. Charlotte O’Sullivan and Nico Jelmoni delight with their daring balances, lifts and counter balances, defying gravity and all common sense. We won’t be trying this at home…without a spotter. The element of danger across all physical feats is just enough to induce a state of excitement and anticipation – we don’t fear for the performers. We’re in awe of their focus and strength and control. There’s the light-hearted, awe-inspiring pole routine, contortion and aerial contortion, a fire breathing counter balance, and the men strutting and dancing, Kinky Boots style, in an epic choreographed number that would put to shame many of the under-30s out for a dance on a Saturday night!



One of the more elegant moments, reminiscent of the rose petals and paper of Per Te, brings an artist in billowing white to centre stage – for not quite long enough – beneath beautiful lighting that makes her appear almost mystical, a muse. And then she disappears; she’s moonlight and then she’s gone.


David Berthold’s Brisbane Festival only brings in or brings back the very best, and Strut & Fret’s Limbo Unhinged is one of the highlights again this year, offering an exciting and erotic, enticingly exotic evening of pure escapism and entertainment we don’t see anywhere else for the rest of the year.




Brisbane Festival is about to kick off! Are you ready?


Brisbane Festival unlocks Arcadia and invites everyone to the opening bash!




Brisbane Festival officially kicks off on Saturday 5 September 2015 – the wacky and wonderful Arcadia at South Bank will come alive with sizzling shows in two massive tents as well as a packed line up of free entertainment, while some meaty shows will play at QPAC and La Boite, all capped off by a big opening night party.




Float between four bars.

Feast at boutique food trucks.

Treat yourself in the Little Creatures Treehouse.

Keep up to date on all the free entertainment happening in Arcadia by joining the Facebook Event.

When: Sat 5 – Sat 26 Sept


Arcadia, the new Festival village, will open from 2pm with South East Queensland’s best hip hop and break dancers battling it out in the popular free event RAPcity, while Australia’s top pavement artist will create amazing 3D chalk art where Festival-goers can snap themselves amongst the trippy work.

From 5pm enjoy free live music by Kahl Wallis (this year’s winner of the Dreaming Award at the National Indigenous Arts Awards), Karl S. Williams and Good Oak at QPAC’s Melbourne Street Green, and at 5.30pm an Indigenous Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, and a contemporary dance performance from ACPA, the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, will take place in Arcadia.

At 6.45pm, dance out of time and sing out of tune with abandon to DJ Mikey’s beats streaming to wireless headphones in a free Silent Disco and keep an eye on the William Jolly Bridge as it is lit up with beautiful art projections by Gerwyn Davies and Alice Lang.




Festival-goers will be spoilt for choice in the evening. In The Spiegeltent, Megan Washington will perform the first of two sold-out shows, which will be followed by the mischievous antics of New York nightlife icon Murray Hill and fellow cast in Club Swizzle.



The show everyone is talking about, Fear & Delight, will call on brave folk who are up for anything – from chicken head and syringe canapés to a gin and tonic cloud experience to an ancient Japanese artistic rope bondage act – audiences are asked to dress in black and white and leave their inhibitions at the door.



Rise for the Oceans *LIMITED TICKETS*

For one night only, Tim Winton, Bernard Fanning, Katie Noonan, Jessica Watson, and natural historian Prof Iain McCalman and other special guests will edify, thrill, entertain and enlighten us with their hopes and fears for our oceans and reefs.

When: Sat 5 Sept, 8pm



Coup Fatal

Join in a mad, defiant party that makes you want to live.

When: Sat 5 – Tue 8 Sept, 8pm



Over at QPAC, famed Belgian dance theatre maker Alain Platel’s Coup Fatal, featuring Congolese countertenor Serge Kakudji and 12 musicians from Kinshasa, will make its Australian premiere in the Playhouse, while Bernard Fanning, Tim Winton and William Barton will join other iconic Australians in the Concert Hall for the world premiere of Rise for the Oceans.




Highly anticipated and moving theatre production Prize Fighter will play at La Boite, a contemporary retelling of Anton Chekhov’s classic The Seagull will show at Queensland Theatre Company, and dance, music and animation will collide in Desirelines at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.


Once the curtains have closed everyone is invited back to the heart of Arcadia where an opening night party will kick off at 10pm into the wee hours of the morning, featuring DJ Tyrone and a performance by UK cult artists and stars of Fear & Delight, The Correspondents.


Arcadians can meander between five bars, a cocktail hut and a selection of wickedly tasty food trucks throughout the evening, and soak in the atmosphere from the brand new Little Creatures Treehouse or the Miami-inspired Riverhouse.




Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said opening weekend would be huge and a good indicator of what people could expect over the next three weeks.


“With more than 500 shows across 20 venues, including 15 Australian premieres and six world premieres, the 2015 Brisbane Festival will provide abundant opportunities for new experiences and cultural adventures, as well as several new boutique places to meet up with family and friends,” Mr Berthold said.


“We have productions coming to Brisbane from five continents and 12 different countries including Singapore, Democratic Republic of the Congo, USA, UK, Japan and France, while 26 Queensland and 17 interstate companies are involved. This is the time to come out and see some of the best shows on the planet.”


On Sunday 6 September The Little Creatures Treehouse will kick off its free ‘Learn stuff about beers’ 30-minute workshops at 1pm and 2pm, where people can get hands-on with malt, savour some beers and create a mini-brew*.  The quirky new venue will also host a ukulele lesson at 4pm followed by a live performance at 5.30pm.



Club Swizzle

After two sell-out seasons at Brisbane Festival, the creators of La Soirée return with a brand spanking new show.

Loose, glorious and irresistibly fun, Club Swizzle is a night of sassy entertainment where the mayhem is kicked up a notch.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm



Audi Presents Fear & Delight

Join cult UK artists, The Correspondents, and an elite international cast of contortionists, acrobats, dancers and comedians whose dazzling physical feats will get your heart pounding.

While the daring physical and comedy performances will leave you short of breath –the extra elements of Fear & Delight will truly blow your mind.

When: Fri 4 – Sat 26 Sept, 8pm



Arcadia will continue buzzing with Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year winner Fox Capture Plan in The Spiegeltent at 7pm followed by Club Swizzle, and audiences can also catch Fear & Delight and Coup Fatal again. Arcadians are also advised to be on the lookout for rogue film directors and impromptu karaoke.





At Palace Centro Cinemas The Diary of a Teenage Girl will be played at 4pm, which is part of The Female Gaze – a showcase of seven iconic indie female-focused films dating back to 1941.



Book online for all Brisbane Festival events.



*Registration for the ‘Learn stuff about beers’ workshops is required one hour prior to commencement as only 20 spots are available for each session. You must be 18+ to participate.



Absinthe Tour le Monde


Absinthe Tour Le Monde


King George Square under the Spiegeltent

June 8 – 28 2015


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward



ABSINTHE_HandBalance (vert) ©Spiegelworld


Well! THAT HAPPENED. Absinthe Tour Le Monde is here and you might as well get carried along by the hype and go see it because you’ll never believe a single voice that says this is very possibly not the best show you’ll ever see. And that’s okay, because you should always find out for yourself if a thing is your thing.


After several seasons in NYC, a four-year sold-out residency in Las Vegas and a season on top of the Crown Casino in Melbourne, it’s Brisbane’s turn to be entertained and appalled by Spiegelworld’s Absinthe Tour le Monde. It could be the sexiest, most incredible, beautiful show in the world, trumping others of its ilk, including a good portion of Cirque’s older repertoire and the spectacular, truly sexy La Soiree, but it doesn’t come close and it clearly never wanted to be anything like its sophisticated cousins.





If you don’t like to hear the word FUCK then you are at the WRONG FUCKING SHOW.



HA! THAT SETS THE TONE. This show is a seductive, double-headed creature that won’t bite until you get too close to get away. And I mean that literally. In Brisbane the beautiful old-world Spiegeltent seats a crammed 700 so good luck getting outta’ there if you’re offended! Or you suddenly decide that you probs should NOT have brought the 15-year-old despite assurances that it’s suitable for 15+ (What are the mummy bloggers saying about Absinthe? I assure you it’s more appropriately rated 18+ but whatevs. You parent your children your way). Of course, the trick is to drink enough in the garden bar before the show to be carried along by the raucous laughter of the lowest common denominator. If you need to be carried out of there you’ve probs had just enough. CHEERS.






You might decide it’s worth cringing and gasping through the puerile comedy for the sake of the superb acts. The artists are some of the best in the world, there’s no doubt about that, but the bits in between? Well, you’ll have to make up your own mind about this brand of humour. If you’re smack bang in the middle of the target demographic, what I say won’t make a difference to your experience of the show. YOU’LL LOVE IT! But you should know that I’m that person at a party who leaves the party before the last line is snorted, rather than stay past 2am to hear the sort of drunken misogynist, racist, ego-driven drivel we hear from the Gazillionaire and his crass assistant, Abby Bobbins. Of course it’s all an act (OR IS IT?). I know. I’m missing the point.









I’ve never understood the appeal of saying something offensive to get a rise out of people. Or shocking the shit out of audiences with extreme/extremely ridiculous sexual fantasies about unicorns with flaccid penises on their heads that become… no, I can’t even tell you the rest. Like most of the hosts’ segments, this story starts out in a vaguely alluring, mildly amusing manner and then Abby takes it too far. Oh! This is what they mean by “risqué”. I see… I see some audience members on opening night looking a little uncomfortable, and laughing because UNCOMFORTABLE. The other six hundred and seventy-three punters are genuinely laughing to bring the Spiegeltent roof down. WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?






The insults that fly from the Gazillionaire’s mouth are not cleverly subversive, his attitude and his manner are not hip and edgy, and there’s nothing new or insightful or witty or brilliant about any of the racial and religious slurs or cruel observations of audience members. (The inclusion of a lap dance competition is an awkward epic fail on opening night, laughable for all the wrong reasons. BUT EACH PARTICIPANT FROM THE AUDIENCE SCORES A FREE DRINK. SO THAT’S ENTERTAINING ISN’T IT?).


Just as he is supposed to be, Gaz is a filthy-rich, downright filthy philistine, homophobic, sexist and racist. These traits are supposed to be the basis of the character’s appeal. Call me old fashioned or new age or naive, but I don’t see whom this subterranean level of disrespect serves.



For those of us who stay sober throughout the generous pre-show proceedings on opening night, both hosts are offensive and tedious. #ishouldhavedrunkmorechampagne






We suffer through the cheap banter because the skilled artists performing incredible acts of balance and strength and poise are absolutely thrilling to watch, especially at such close range, and they deserve our respect. Likewise, the iconic Kylie-esque Green Fairy (WAAPA graduate, Karla Tonkich) is fabulously raunchy in her tattered wings and very little else, and in fine voice.






Other highlights include the stunning duo straps routine performed with extraordinary elegance and romance by Maika Isogawa and Jacob Oberman, and the sexy schoolgirl – and by sexy schoolgirl I mean hold-your-breath-holy-double-hotness-batman – aerial hoop duo from Germany, Laura von Bongard & Luka Clayborn. The Frat Pack (Paul Lopez, Paul Resell & Olesky Snarskyy) defies gravity on the High Wire, Andrei Sizonenka & Aliasandra Yurkavets defy death, hurling themselves across the horizontal bars, and Gaz’s gorgeous bodyguards (Michael Nowosadko & Zbignew Sobierajski) perform a nonchalant strip and an incredible hand balance routine, the ultimate in precision, strength and control. With over 70 amazing circus artists on his books, Ross Mollison knows how to pick a winner. But it’s clear he doesn’t believe the acts are enough.




Originally directed by Australia’s Wayne Harrison, Absinthe Tour le Monde is a little bit of evil genius with all the mechanisms in place to ensure it will continue to conquer the world. It’s a magic formula that obviously appeals to the masses. I ‘reckon that even if you realise you hate the same crass and unapologetically politically incorrect parts that I find unnecessary, you’ll prefer to remember you loved it. It’s easier. IT’S SO MUCH EASIER THAN BOTHERING TO EXPLAIN WHAT MISSED THE MARK. TRUST ME.




If you haven’t booked your tix yet for Absinthe Tour le Monde, I suggest you pay top dollar to sit ringside, do the whole experience properly (get properly drunk), and proclaim its brilliance. Everybody else is!





Absinthe Tour le Monde – we chat with Ross Mollison, Gazillionaire, before opening night in Brisbane


Absinthe – a chat with Ross Mollison THE GAZILLIONAIRE






Absinthe sold out for 4 years in Las Vegas? What do people love about this show?

It’s hilarious. It’s intimate. The artists are super talented. It is unexpected. It’s the best show in Vegas. And they love the Gazillionaire.




Is there a narrative or is it hosted, circus style, by the Gazillionaire and his sidekick, Abby?

The Gaz created the show about a decade ago. He tries to keep the entire gig on the road despite the difficulty of keeping the sexiest group of artists alive from running off with billionaires.



What did you love about having the show in Vegas? What made it time to bring it to Australia?

Every year more and more people enjoy Absinthe in Vegas. We have had over 1million audience members already, and it continues to grow. I love producing in Australia as it allows me the opportunity to come home, and I thought after Empire, audiences would love the cutting edge style of circus which may offend, it may excite, but it never leaves anyone without an opinion. And ultimately, the Gaz wanted to go to Australia.



Tell us about your understanding and passion for vaudeville, burlesque, circus and cabaret.

It has been something I have loved since I was a little boy being taken to the Moscow Circus. I love the talent of the artists, the physicality, and I love ground breaking comedy. So what we do is stay true to the rules of great circus, burlesque and cabaret and produce something that is unique and will amaze the market.






Which is your favourite act?

Every act in Absinthe Tour le Monde is amazing. You have to love the Gaz – but you have to love every act.



How did you find the acts/artists? Do you hold auditions?

I travel to every corner of the world finding the best talent. I then invite them to meet with the Gazillionaire and he decides if they are good enough!



What’s the best preparation an artist can do to be ready for a show like Absinthe? What’s the best training they can do?

It is like being in a Grand Final winning football team. You have to train so hard to keep your spot in the team. They need to keep honing their craft to make their act better and better.



You will see the show evolves and gets better as time goes by.



What do you love about the Spiegeltent?

The Gaz told me that Marlene Diedrich performed in the Spiegeltent we are bringing to Brisbane. I love the history of it. The beauty of it. And I met my girlfriend in one – I fell in love having glanced at her in a mirror. Reflection is a great thing – it leads to love.




Why will Brisbane audiences love seeing Absinthe under the Spiegeltent?

You will never see another show like it. It will never come back to Brisbane as it is booked into a tour of Japan and the USA for the next 5 years – and it has the best acts and best comedy in the world today.






What will down time/time out look like for you in Brisbane?

The Gaz usually spends far more money than he makes going to nightclubs, restaurants and on other activity that invariably leads to problems. So – it may include posting bail, but hopefully he won’t be deported, as I would love to hit the great restaurants of Brisbane, of which there are so many.






Absinthe Tour le Monde under the Spiegeltent opens tomorrow night, Thursday June 4 for a strictly limited season in King George Square. Book online.






WIN a double pass to Absinthe under the Spiegeltent!











From the creators of EMPIRE… comes ABSINTHE by Spiegelworld



“If you only see one show in your entire life, make it ABSINTHE”  Huffington Post



…. the city is about to be shocked, probably outraged, definitely wowed and absolutely entertained when the politically incorrect yet athletically gifted and talented cast from ABSINTHE Tour Le Monde ARRIVE IN TOWN!!!

Brisbane loved EMPIRE when it rocked King George Square! Now the creators are back with a show that takes things to a whole new level – the city is about to be shocked, probably outraged, definitely wowed and absolutely entertained when the politically incorrect yet athletically gifted and talented cast from ABSINTHE Tour Le Monde, presented by Stan, arrives for a strictly limited season from June 2 under the spiegeltent at King George Square.




ABSINTHE is an adult-themed cocktail of circus, burlesque and vaudeville for a 21st century audience. The show is hosted by the filthy rich and just plain filthy Gazillionaire and his whacky assistant Abby Bobbins who have become two of the most acclaimed and subversive comedy forces in Las Vegas in recent years by parodying political correctness with their dark wit.


Tickets are on sale NOW for the limited Brisbane season of ABSINTHE at







Launched by Australians in Manhattan’s gritty South Street Seaport, it became New York’s must-see event before moving to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas where it has been smashing box office records and continues selling out after four amazing years. These exceptionally talented and sexy performers from across the globe have been described by notorious Las Vegas reporter Robin Leach as “naughty and nice, exotic and erotic, wild and wacky.”



It’s not only the artists who create the magic of ABSINTHE.



The show will be presented in Brisbane in a 700-seat antique spiegeltent, furnished with beveled mirrors, plush velvet seating booths and a well-stocked bar in King George Square. It’s the most intimate stage in town, with the artists dedicated to performing their jaw-dropping, breath-taking acts up close and very personal!


ABSINTHE_HandBalance (vert) ©Spiegelworld


Brisbane audiences at ABSINTHE will be treated to new international acts, especially hand-picked for the Australian tour, joining the line-up of jaw-dropping performances which have been wowing Las Vegas for four sold-out years.  Celebrity audience members have included Elijah Wood, Channing Tatum, James Franco, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris, Brad Garrett and Pamela Anderson.


Laura von Bongard and Luka Clayburn from Germany, have created a breathtakingly sexy aerial hoop duet which is being premiered on this Australian tour. Los Dos Tacos (Andrei Sizonenka and Aliaksandr Yurkavets from Belarus) astound with their heart-stopping human foosball routine on the high bar- believed to be the first time a double Horizontal Bar act has been performed on the intimate spiegeltent stage where the audience are just inches away from the action. Other acts include Oleksandr Volohdin (Ukraine) building an impossibly high chair mountain; The Lost Souls (Ukraine) with their stunning acrobatic Banquine Act; the sensuous Jacob Oberman and Maika Isogawa (USA) on the Duo Straps; Michal Nowosadko and Zbigniew Sobierakski (Poland) displaying extraordinary grace and strength with their Hand Balance; and The Frat Pack (USA) on the daring High Wire.




Spiegelworld’s Impresario, Australian Ross Mollison, said of the impending Brisbane season, “ABSINTHE is now considered a must see for visitors to Las Vegas. I am thrilled to be bringing our biggest ever hit production to Brisbane – a city which we know embraces the best and most exciting stage performances – before we head off to tour the rest of the world.”



ABSINTHE is a bona-fide international phenomenon.



Performances start June 2 2015, under the spiegeltent at King George Square

Performance Schedule:  

Tuesday/Wednesday – 8pm    Thursday/Friday/Saturday – 7:30pm & 9:30pm

Sunday – 5pm & 7pm






For your chance to win a double pass to Absinthe on Wednesday June 10 at 8pm, comment below or on our Facebook page and tell us why you MUST SEE ABSINTHE!

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