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LIMBO – THE RETURN: Come for the WOW and stay for the music

Strut & Fret opened their season of LIMBO – The Return last night inside the Spiegeltent Newcastle, which has taken up residence in Civic Park until 5 May.

The show is a reimagining of one of the company’s most ambitious and celebrated productions which has toured consistently around the world for more than a decade.

This is the first time Newcastle has gotten a taste of the LIMBO world, with its mix of cabaret, circus, and acrobatics all set to an original score written and played by American composer, performer, and story-teller Sxip Shirey. And it’s the music element of the show that is sure to be its biggest draw card for our live music-loving Steel City.

While the show features all the WOW and adults-only naughtiness of previous Strut & Fret outings in Newcastle, the music of LIMBO – The Return really takes things to another level.

THE WOW

The allure of a night inside the Spiegeltent Newcastle has always been about the WOW, and this show delivers it all.

There’s people flying through the air, performing death-defying acrobatics, aerial manoeuvres and moving their bodies in ways you never thought possible – And it’s all happening next to you, and above you, and beside you and sometimes on top of you.

The gravity-defying French performer Mikael Bres had us shaking our heads in disbelief performing audacious manoeuvres above our heads without a safety net in sight. Spanish acrobat, and absolute daredevil, David Marco’s slack rope routine was like nothing we’ve ever seen before (No spoilers, but we have literally never seen anyone do this and you’ll be thinking about how it was even possible for hours after).

UK rope virtuoso, Ben Loader, and Bulgarian aerialist Maria Moncheva perform like they’re in a zero-gravity chamber. They make the impossible look effortless and turn the centre of the Spiegeltent into a vertical tennis match where your eyes are moving up and down so you don’t miss any of the action.

It’s also hard to take your eyes off the seductive Clara Fable when she’s on the stage. While Clara is relatively new to the fire-eating game she performs the hot and steamy routine like flames are some sort of yummy snack you eat on cheat days for breakfast. And then the next minute the Sydney-based performer is singing melodies like some sort of hypnotic siren.

On top of all that, there’s Hilton Denis. A triumph of casting, Hilton’s cheeky acrobatic dance numbers and magnetism are a standout during the show. His performance cements the WOW of the show and the live music together while providing comic relief and breaking down the wall between the stage and the audience. His tap routine is worth the price of admission alone.

THE MUSIC

American musician Sxip Shirey has made a name for himself making music with found objects, modified instruments, synthesisers and other electronic trickery. It’s all in a day’s work for someone who combined the study of physics and folk guitar at University.

Sxip leads the show’s three-piece band alongside maverick musicians Grant Arthur and Mick Stuart. Together they provide the soundtrack (an original score written by Sxip) to the world of LIMBO – The Return.

The band are joined throughout the night by other cast members who provide vocals, instrumentation and beatboxing.

Highlights of the live score include Sxip’s vocal magic and Mick Stuart’s Polymba performance.

Sxip seemingly has the ability to turn his voice into multiple instruments and pull off spine tingling sound effects. His mastery of audio is really something to behold. And Mick Stuart shines behind the Polymba – A musical instrument he designed and built himself which is basically a wooden box with fifteen African thumb pianos, each amplified by guitar pickups.

If you’ve got even a passing interest in instruments and music making you’re gonna be loving this show.

LIMBO – THE RETURN

As we said in the headline, come for the WOW and stay for the music – this show is another hit from the Strut & Fret team and will be the hottest ticket in town over the next month.

LIMBO – The Return is now playing inside the Spiegeltent Newcastle in Civic Park. The amazing cast will perform multiple shows a week alongside Sxip Shirey’s band until 5 May 2024. Visit limbothereturn.com for show times and tickets.