There were big expectations for Life the show based on Strut & Fret Production House’s previous shows Limbo and Blanc de Blanc. Sadly, the show didn’t live up to those expectations.
Previous shows were full of circus and burlesque extravaganza whereas Life the Show seemed to be more so a story-telling, dancing show with a little bit of acrobatics thrown in.
As the name suggests, this is a show revolving around life. It starts with one of the main performers Goos Meeuwsen, international clowning royalty, doing a light jog on the spot while words about his daily routine “wake up, eat, go to work, masturbate, watch TV, go to sleep”. He then meets a lady, played by Brazilian born, of French ancestry, Helena Bittencourt, who has played with Cirque du Soleil. What ensues is the flirtation, seduction and eventual getting together and getting down to business between the pair.
Goos Meeuwsen amused the crowd as he discovered he could listen to his own body parts (heart, mind and genitalia). He walked around the front row of the audience popping his hands on various people’s heads and music would play. This was an amusing skit.
One of the absolute standouts of the show was Tim Kriegler, previously in La Clique. He stuns the crowd as he climbs up the inside of a plastic tube and performs jaw-dropping acrobatic feats and has the crowd gasping as he climbs to the top and allows himself to do a fast drop to the bottom of the tube.
Music is a key element in the show and as with other Strut & Fret Production House shows, there is a live band on stage. Fantine’s vocals rung in our head well after the show. She has a beautiful and powerful voice. Dressed in a silky slinky nightie and gown, she weaves her way around the stage. She is accompanied by Blaise Garcia of the Violent Femmes and Brooklyn’s drumming powerhouse Attis Clopton. As you would expect, most of the songs revolved around the theme of life. And the show has a great soundtrack.
The dancing talents of Hilton Denis (previously seen in LIMBO) and Rechelle Mansour (previously seen in Velvet) are not to be denied but to be honest seemed quite out of place with what we are used to for Strut & Fret Production House shows. We expected there to be a lot more of the acrobatic, circus tricks but sadly apart from Tim Kriegler already mentioned above and one aerial act, these were largely missing.
There was some symbolism in the show. The scene where Goos Meeuwsen lies on the ground and the rope hanging from the ceiling is pulled down on top of him by various members of the cast is no doubt representative of the struggles of life and being worn down.
Then there is that scene that has a lot of people talking. The one in which Helena Bittencourt is vacuuming, only to be interrupted by the sound of her baby crying. She pulls out her breast, pops the vacuum onto it and breastfeeds as Goos Meeuwsen provides her with cigarette and cocktail. This is perhaps a critique of the pressures put on women to do it all or meant to shock us with her drinking and smoking while breastfeeding.
Overall a good show but more in the realm of song and dance and storytelling rather than the acrobatic, fire-breathing circus we have come to expect from Strut & Fret Production House.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe
Life the Show continues nightly, with the exception of Mondays, until the conclusion of Adelaide Fringe. Tickets cost $68 (or $58 for concession card holders) plus any booking fees and are available here.
For our full list of recommended shows, you can read our article here.