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LIMBO The Return - The Grand Electric (NSW)

Presented by Maidment


A welcome return for the high-flying, energetic show of wonder. Get down to the Grand Electric now to experience it


Reviewed by Mary Anne Reid

The Grand Electric, Surry Hills

Until 18th August, 2024


LIMBO The Return is a seductive mix of cabaret, circus, and acrobatics, set to heart-pumping live music, and performed in the recently renovated and re-badged theatre The Grand Electric – the perfect venue for this show.


A packed and loud opening night crowd gathers in the courtyard bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills then streams into the darkly lit, ‘smoky’ performance space, to be seated in large concentric circles around a long L-shaped stage.


Wild-haired composer Sxip Shirey, the master of ceremonies, strides on to the stage with a megaphone and a swathe of electronic sound effects. The performance troupe follows, as laser lights and ropes drop from the ceiling, and a menu of dance, acrobatics and circus begins.


LIMBO the Return. Image by Daniel James Grant
LIMBO the Return. Image by Daniel James Grant

Grant Arthur takes the stage with a giant horn called the Sousaphone, setting the tone for a score that takes familiar forms like blues and jazz, and transforms them into an eccentric and surprising soundscape that uses more than 20 instruments and devices, from harmonicas, bullhorn and jew harp, to electric guitar and moog.


South-African-born choreographer, Hilton Dennis, wins the crowd with an electrified tap dance routine, and the two female performers – fire-eating vocalist Clara Fable and top-notch dancer/ acrobat Maria Moncheva – dazzle in black boots, fishnets and corsets.


Interestingly, all the musicians and most of the performance troupe are males –  wearing quite a bit more than the two women, but nevertheless with some impressive muscled torsos on show. Along with Dennis, the multi-skilled male performance troupe includes David Marco Pintado (Spain), Mikael Bres (France), Ben Loader (UK), and Grant Arthur and Mick Stuart (Australia).


Aerial acrobatics are the physical centrepiece of the show. The artists jump onto ropes stretching above and across the audience to display feats of balance and movement, with props from feathers to chairs to chains. Bodies swirl and twirl and flesh abounds as the choreography switches between playful and dramatic.


The first half of LIMBO gets us acquainted with the depth and breadth of the talents on offer, and the second half turns the heat up several notches, taking the audience vibe from engaged to excited. There are rings of fire, pumping sound, and acrobatics in high gear.

Lighting and set designer Philip Gladwell does a great job of bringing the movement and music together with dramatic lights and lasers on stage, and dark, cabaret-style lighting surrounding the audience and the bar at the back of the theatre.


Creative director Scott Maidment conceived the original LIMBO, which premiered at the Adelaide Fringe in 2013 and toured 17 countries over the next four years. The second incarnation was LIMBO Unhinged, again directed by Maidment, with a new cast of international players. It was clear on the opening night of this new instalment that LIMBO The Return is a very welcome arrival in a post-COVID world craving spectacle and excitement.


 

DURATION

100 mins including interval 

AGE RESTRICTIONS

RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 15+

WARNINGS

Strobe lighting, theatrical haze, and mild adult themes.

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