fringe: luminous

adelaide fringe: luminous
Luminous is one of those circus shows that has moments of brilliance and a unique hook, but wasn't perhaps as amazing as I hoped it would be.

Billed as Australia's first blacklight circus show, it certainly delivers on that... although the venue itself, La Petite Grande in Gluttony works against them somewhat, since the ceiling fluoresces slightly and it only takes a couple of people in the crowd to be wearing white tops before the ambient light level in the tent rises a little higher than is ideal. That meant that the performers all in black who were supposed to be essentially invisible weren't as invisible as they could have been.

I also couldn't help thinking that the audio levels were a little spotty at times, with a little too much distortion/volume for the size of the venue.

The show started interestingly enough... with one of the performers being painted live on stage with squiggles and spots of glowing paint while he performed contact juggling (pretty much a version of the image above).

The next segment was the lone female performer as some kind of bug inspired creature and, to be honest that didn't work for me as much... whether that's my usual slight bias against female acrobats or not, I don't know, but I think some of the illusions they were trying to create weren't always completely clear, especially once the male performer clad in orange showed up.

After that came a video game/Tron inspired juggling act, which had a neat built in gag for when the juggling balls were dropped. I will admit I was a little bit distracted by the video game character only because the painted front to his underwear left very little to the imagination.

One of the sections that worked the best for me was the performer twirling the canes. The blacklight added the glowing after image so that it became almost hypnotic and the performer was mostly in black which also helped.

The two male performers returned to do a duo juggling routine with clubs, which would have been difficult enough at the best of times, but with the blacklight and glowing clubs added several layers of difficulty to the routine.

There was also a weird bromance/romance thing going on during that routine which felt a little odd (although I wouldn't have overly objected if the two performers had actually kissed) or maybe just out of place a little. I'm not sure if it was just done for laughs, because if so, it's a little disappointing.

When the female performer returned I'm guessing it was supposed to be burlesque-inspired, but to be honest, it felt a little "hoochy" (but again, that could just be me). And it never helps to have your performance be mostly on the floor when the majority of your audience don't have a clear line of sight to the floor.

The finale of the show though was just plain weird... the performers all reappear and pretty much just cover themselves in more glowing paint... and then it's all over and the lights come up.

In many ways I kind of wish they'd never brought the lights up on the performers. Yes, it was nice to be able to see who it was you were applauding, but as soon as we could see them, the spell of the glowing bodies was broken and they actually didn't really seem to have very much paint on them at all.

As far as pure circus acts go, given that we've seen a large number of them over the past few years, this one would be kind of average... some interesting moments, but nothing spectacular... however the blacklight was definitely something unique, but it perhaps wasn't as amazing as I was hoping.

But definitely points for effort and creativity.

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