Spiegelworld’s ABSINTHE is a world unto its own – A world of charm and intrigue, a smoky and sultry den of iniquity. From the moment you walk through the intricately carved doors of the beautiful Spiegeltent, you will feel like you have been transported back to a 19th Century Parisian burlesque house.
The famous century-old Spiegeltent is the very essence of a European ‘kabaret salon’. Luxurious velvet canopies billow overhead, glittering stained-glass windows line the walls, and beveled mirror columns reflect the glowing-green lighting.
Every seat in the house feels close to the action. The circular stage in the centre of the room surrounded by multi-tiered seating gives the whole audience an up-close-and-personal experience of the show’s extreme circus acts and risqué shenanigans.
The Spiegeltent’s internal bar keeps the drinks flowing throughout the show, and if you really want to get into the spirit of ABSINTHE (no pun intended), be sure to try one of the house specialties – A sweet and punchy Absinthe cocktail.
Enter The Gazillionaire. He is the ringmaster, your dastardly and debaucherous host for the evening. Described as ‘filthy rich, and just plain filthy’, he is exactly that.
By his side is his faithful (and equally depraved) assistant, Penny Pibbets. If you’re one who is easily offended, startled by smut, or cringe at the crude and downright unusual, then The Gazillionaire and Penny’s antics may not be your cup of tea (or, in this case, shot of Absinthe).
Nonetheless, the duo’s no-holds-barred comedy routine is, for the most part, impishly funny. Whether you’re covering your mouth from laughter or gasps of disbelief, they put on quite a show. However, there were a few oh-my-god moments in their banter that toe the very fine line between slightly wicked and just plain wrong.
Word to the wise, this isn’t a show you’d want to take your grandma to… She might just get pulled up into the audience participation and trust me, you don’t want poor old Nanna to get in the middle of that business!
All lechery aside, ABSINTHE brings along a team of international performers of the highest calibre, each adding their own unique flair to the show.
One of the first to take the floor is Ukrainian Oleksandr “Sacha” Volohdin and his breathtaking feat of balance and poise. Sacha begins by placing one chair upon another, upon another, upon another… and all the while, he scales the tall tower of teetering chairs.
As he reaches the top, the audience dares not to make a sound in fear the slightest whisper could send Sacha and his chair mountain toppling down.
When Sacha’s feet finally touch solid ground at the end of his routine, a collective exhale of relief is heard around the room, closely followed by a roar of applause.
Where I believe the most praise for ABSINTHE should fall is in its showcase of immense human strength and unwavering focus. These performers have devoted their lives to rigorous training and physical refining in order to execute some incredibly risky, and often death-defying, tricks.
This dedication to their art form shines particularly bright in the Los Dos Tacos horizontal bar routine and Duo Creative’s amazing hand balance piece.
Noted as being ‘straight out of the Mexican quarter of Minsk’, the Los Dos Tacos duo seem to possess the energy of fifty men as they spin and flip from beam to beam at unbelievable speeds. Take heed of the warning not to stand up during this performance, the boys not only come within inches of each other as they fly through the air – they also precariously skim passed the front rows’ heads!
Duo Creative were mesmerizing, another routine which brought the audience to a heavy silence. The Polish duo work together to hold unimaginable poses, you see every muscle flex and contract into action as one supports the other. To see such strength and stamina in any human being, let alone two, is absolutely mind-blowing.
A definite highlight of the evening was of course, the grand finale, The Frat Pack’s High Wire routine.
Leading the pack is Paul Lopez, who spoke to Newcastle Live last week, and The Gazillionaire – keeping things delightfully inappropriate – makes a point of mocking the size of Paul’s waistline.
It’s true, Paul is not your average lean muscle machine like the other performers, but I think this actually adds to the impressive nature of his act as he gracefully negotiates the high wire above.
Overall, ABSINTHE was a wild ride, and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Much like its namesake spirit, ABSINTHE is bold, biting, and might make you see some really strange things.
A raucous and raunchy cocktail of cabaret, burlesque and daring circus acts, full of jaw-dropping moments – both from the incredible stunts and brazenly bawdy dialogue.
Though I may never look at sock puppets the same way again (anyone who’s seen the show will know exactly what I mean), Spiegelworld’s ABSINTHE was a fantastic experience I’ll not soon forget.
Spiegelworld’s ABSINTHE run of shows at Wheeler Place has now been extended to March 15 – Don’t miss out!
PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Turner