Pros: A great opportunity to see amazing physical feats close up; the finale was a spectacular crowd-pleaser.
Cons: The music wasn’t particularly to my taste but it worked well with the edgy stage show.
This is the third year of a summer residence offering an eclectic mix of music, comedy, cabaret and circus acts at The London Wonderground, situated on the Southbank and entered via the Thames Walk by Hungerford Bridge. Once past the ticket check you enter a bar, cocktail and pizza area decorated like a fun fair, with some seats that resemble dodgem and waltzer cars. The gathering audience were in good spirits and made for some great people watching.
The circus tent is based on a 1920s speigeltent: designed to be packed and unpacked for travelling, and traditionally constructed with wood, mirrors, stained glass and canvas with dressings of velvet and brocade. The London Wonderground version builds an anticipation of something unique and special to come. If you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall then this is a very different beast. Much more intimate in size terms, everything is far more up close and personal, especially as the stage area is raised so there’s probably not a bad seat in the house.
The music is unique and almost a performance in its own right. Led by Sxip Shirey – who calls the music ‘jank’ – it’s a pandemonium of weird and wonderful sounds, with over 50 music-making instruments and devices being used throughout the show.
The 75 minute long event comprises theatre, dance, illusion, contortion, acrobatics, gymnastics and fire eating, but that list just doesn’t do it justice. This is beautifully put together and it flows seamlessly from one act to the next. The cast of nine will charm and amaze you and with eye candy for everyone this is a good looking show too. The two ladies (Evelyne Allard and Heather Holliday) prove they’re not just there for decoration with some incredible acrobatic, sword swallowing and fire eating displays.
Feats of flexibility, strength and balance are performed with deceptive ease and humour. Jonathan Nosan appears to be made of pure rubber, while Danik Abishev’s hand balancing is unbelievable. Mikael Bres (pole work) and Hilton Denis (dancing) also deserve a mention, but although everyone has their speciality they also merge and meld to create some great team pieces.
The physical feats build steadily and culminate in an amazing ensemble piece with most of the team standing atop fixed, flexible poles around the edge of the stage, synchronising their movements and bending right over the audience close enough to touch outstretched hands. The show brought the house down and the delighted audience dispersed back into Wonderland all wide-eyed with excitement.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary then go see Limbo for yourself and check out all the other listings for what promises to be a summer of fun in Wonderland.
Director: Scott Maidment
Composer & Musical Director: Sxip Shirey
Booking Until: 17th August 2014
Box Office: 0844 545 8282