The atmosphere was lively for this variety show, and the compère made it seem as if we'd been invited to a party – a party which included, amongst other things, acrobats, magicians, comedians, and lots of hoops of various sizes. The programme is different each night, but it's always hosted by acrobats from Aussie company Head First.
On the night I attended, one of the highlights was definitely the bearded, smiley Loggi from Ireland. His juggling routine involves nothing but four wooden cigar boxes, but Loggi’s gentle banter with the audience meant that we could forgive him when the trick seemingly didn't go to plan. And of course, when it was successful, we celebrated with and for him.
Better still was comedian and singer Vicky, who was totally unperturbed by the fact that a technical hitch knocked out her electric piano. She carried on regardless, picking up her accordion and working the audience to her advantage – and the charismatic charm she brought to her interactions left me wanting the problem to go on for as long as possible. She was an absolute treat to watch and listen to (she has the most amazing singing voice), and she cleverly involved a member of the audience, hilariously roping him into her big number.
But there were some uncomfortable moments too. One comedian thought it funny to hit people over the head with a cardboard box, and a generally well-done act – an acrobat riding the inside of a giant hoop whilst gradually stripping – was let down by a cheap sexist joke at the expense of a woman in the audience. Shame. I thought that those days were over by now.
And in a time when issues of gender identity are finally being understood, it was a pity to see a talented male acrobat dressed in a wig and badly-fitting dress. I’m guessing the idea was to strike a contrast with his macho counterpart, but it really wasn't funny at all. It's sad that they just didn't concentrate on how good they could be artistically instead.
In the main I really liked this laid-back ensemble piece, but it pays the price for this style. As well as the sometimes uncomfortable tone, it just wasn't very polished in places. It was a bit like watching a bunch of mates having a good time together – and I guess that's what it's striving to be. So if you'll enjoy some relaxed-seeming cabaret and circus, this might be the show for you.