As a local, I was really pleased to see that Summerset Verandah at Brighton Beach was back.
The premiere of Voila Variete was unusually windy and cold and gave the chirpy MC, Miss Gail Force, quite a tough audience to warm up, but warm it up she did.
Dressed in a designer gown split to the thigh, undaunted by the coolness, she teased and flirted with us. She warned us things were going “to get a little weird”. I had no idea how weird they were going to get.
The show was a mix of comedy, burlesque and circus. Not a sophisticated, high-class show, but slightly trashy and with some grotesque parts.
Gail Force carried the show and standout act for me was Arthur Ritus (aka Adam O’Connor-McMahon from Mandurah). Initially appearing as an adorable, somewhat gauche, blond, he won the audience over with his innocent humour.
Transforming later into sexy, stripped down to his pants, he gave a stunning acrobatic performance, wowing the audience with his grace and flexibility.
Other acts included Burlesque performer, Ivory Bound, as a purple-clad cat in killer heels with a very sexy tail who unzipped down to her pasties and a rather scary looking Toddball the Oddball (aka The Reverend Butcher).
Toddball horrified us with what he inserted into his nose and mouth without gagging. Quite gross – forget boring.
When the fabulous MC cheerfully announced, “No budget here for stage kittens!” and laid out a sheet of cellophane for performer Vesper White and warned us “Things are going to get a little ‘unique’”.
I should have known things would get uncomfortable. Watching what Vesper White did with those ring doughnuts will be etched in my memory forever more. Please don’t ask.
The layout at the Big Top is not ideal for visibility if you’re not at the front but you know what will happen if you do sit at the front in an interactive show (!).
The lighting and music system was great. A sweep of smoke every now and again added to the circus atmosphere.