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ROUGE - Sydney Spiegeltent (NSW)

Directed by Elena Kirschbaum

Reviewed by Juliana Payne

Sydney Spiegeltent, The Entertainment Quarter

Until 17th December, 2023


- Sydney just can’t seem to get enough of the sexy funny circus cabaret, and when it’s this good you can see why -

Heading off to a show at the Sydney Spiegeltent always feels extra special, something out of the ordinary; the spectacularly lit stage always bodes well for an exhilarating evening. So when MC extraordinaire Paul Westbrook appears in his spotlight to welcome us, we definitely know it is not going to be a run-of-the-mill performance. He sets the scene as a cheeky, Puckish host who hints at the pleasurable danger to come, and the audience just melts into Rouge. As the publicity reminds us, it is well and truly a "circus for grownups".

Not the least of the enjoyment is spotting the gorgeous outfits and hairdos sprinkled amongst the glittering audience. As the MC says, we welcome our friends from ‘beyond the binary’ and the wonderful array of androgynous, cross gender and leather evening wear was a treat. The sexy and very risqué fun spilled off the stage and reverberated through the Spiegeltent – it was funny, raunchy, and thrilling!

Rouge Opening Night - Sydney Spiegeltent. Images by Belinda Rolland

Rouge starts like a lightning bolt and doesn’t let anyone off the hook. The chemistry between the performers, and between performers and audience, hung thicker in the air than the dry ice mist. The breathtaking physicality and risk of the acrobatics and aerial meant that the artistes maintained a tangible almost telepathic connection as if their lives depended on it – which it actually did. The result was that the stunning segments looked effortless and easy – and we could tell by the veins, tendons and muscles that were taut and tense throughout the show that there was no way these acts are easy. And now that I know what a Cyr wheel is, I can fully guarantee to you that it is a wonder and joy to watched skilled artistes demonstrate this device.

Lyndon Johnson and Maui Ryan were the rocks upon which the fluid grace and beauty of Lizzie Patterson’s and Jessie Mckibbin’s acrobatics flowed. The power and perfection of their acts are astonishing, with Westbrook running around like a malevolently hilarious Loki to pepper the jokes around – wait until you see his skill with a carrot, amongst other things…

Go on, treat yourself. Rouge is a blast!

Christine Ibrahim’s live torch song chanteusing enhanced the recorded music, and the sound was surprisingly good for a ‘tent’. She manages to belt out the jazz numbers whilst hanging from one foot off a trapeze high above the stage. Now that’s what I called a triple-threat.

Sydney just can’t seem to get enough of the sexy funny circus cabaret, and when it’s this good you can see why. Go on, treat yourself. Rouge is a blast!



DATES: 23 NOV - 17 DEC

DURATION: 90 Minutes (inc interval)

PRICE: Tickets from $50 - $110

(exc booking fee)

Suitable for audiences 18+


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