Fringefeed | 15 Feb 2019


Fisticuffs is a many-men-in-one-man show. It honours the FRINGE WORLD tradition of not honouring tradition.

Have you ever seen a mixed martial arts clown? Heard the neurotic rants of an aerialist acrobat? The vexed interior musings of a modern dancer? Ever gone to a show and discovered you might just be it?

If you answer “no” to any of these, well step right up, walk this way.

Fisticuffs creator and star Sven Hopla makes an art of creating an illusion and then breaking it – which he does throughout.

Notions of masculinity are raised, explored, questioned, subverted. The relationship between performer and audience are teased out and upended too.

Audience participation, education and manipulation are all used to make us partners in Hopla’s creative vision, which is at once jarring and unifying.

Any rigid expectations you may have of circus theatre are kicked to the kerb early. There are costume changes, discipline changes, personality changes, mood changes. Roll with it and you will be rewarded.

Hopla’s extensive training in circus, dance and theatre is evident. He is a skilled artist endowed with a sharp and inventive mind. He can perplex and provoke at no cost to sheer entertainment.

Something potentially chaotic is brought together by the thoughtful, warm and funny character of the artist. In a way the show is about stripping away the barriers between us and him, so that we might learn something real about him and maybe ourselves.

An energetic ending ensures the audience leaves feeing uplifted, connected in a way, smiling, and a little bewildered.

Don’t worry if you’re not up for the invitation to think.

Fisticuffs works and rewards on different levels, and it is hard to imagine anyone leaving unhappy with the experience.

About the Author

Paul McLeod

Paul McLeod studied literature and drama, and was a musician and actor, before he got sucked into a vortex of corporate communications and risk management that lasted 25 years. He has co-organised a couple of small music festivals, and recently won an award for world's worst band manager. Look out Fringe World, here he comes (creeping)!

Ticket Price $21

End Date 17 Feb 2019

  • Ticket Price $21
  • End Date 17 Feb 2019
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A thoroughly entertaining show which explores the notion of the circus performer and his relationship to his audience.

Reviewed by Ann 2019

An interesting slant on what engaging with an audience means. Sven takes you to a place which is almost confronting then brings his audience back to his entertainment where we end as one.

Reviewed by Julie Sanders 2019