Luster needs a bit more underworld

Mar 10, 2015

Luster is a show in search of a show. It promises “a behind-the-scenes look at the glamour of the circus. The backstage rituals and relationships.” What this really means is a performance without the polish of a performance, because we’re pretending it’s not really a performance; it’s a glimpse behind the red curtain.

And basically it just doesn’t work.  If you’re going to do comedy about your mum calling at inconvenient moments, you have to be able to do comedy. Or if you’re going to sing a torch song, alone and unaccompanied, you need a decent voice and some good lighting.

This entire performance has the feel of an end-of-year concert at dancing school or circus camp.  I’m sure Mum and Dad would love it and clap heartily, but the standards have to be a bit higher when you’re asking people to pay real money to see you.

Presenter Shift is described as “Brisbane’s newest circus ensemble”, and perhaps that’s the problem – perhaps the show is just a little under-done. And perhaps it was unfortunate that Luster premiered on the very weekend that Rundle Mall was full of fabulous performers for the Fringe Street Theatre Festival.  Some of these people have serious talent and they know how to work a crowd.

The best moments in Luster take place in the air. The young performers show some mastery in the aerial routines and should make more of these skills. But the routines on the mat are too basic and repetitive to sustain a 60-minute show, and the transitions between each routine are too slow.

The blurb for Luster says it is “inspired by the underworld of the carnival”, but it wasn’t there. A little more underworld might give this show some interest and excitement.

Luster plays at Ukiyo – Royal Croquet Club – until March 15.

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