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Reviews/Circus/Comedy/Fringe World Festival

A dozen cheeky answers

31 January 2020

Robert Housley finds much to tantalise in the sexy circus show, How Much Do You Love Me?

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Review: CirQuest Circus, How Much Do You Love Me? ·
CirQuest Circus HQ, 29 January 2020 ·
Review by Robert Housley ·

Quantifying love is akin to estimating the length of the proverbial piece of string. How much is enough? How little is insufficient? And what about the shape-shifting forms it takes?

“How Much Do You Love Me?” was the tantalising poser presented to 12 multi-talented circus performers: create acts using this theme and let’s piece them together for Fringe World 2020.

CirQuest co-founder, CEO and former international circus artist Isobel Lyall said she told herself and the other 11 performers – Michael Speranza, Bonnie Blewitt, Amanda Cope, Michael Scruton, Chloe Shadlow, Kenneth Gosnold, Natalia Rudman, Becky Dowsing, Carla Sudholz, Ksenia Arkhipova and Gaea Anastas – to push the limits and get out of any comfort zone. And that is exactly what they have done in this cohesive, quick-fire, 10-act performance that runs a breezy 50 minutes.

The naughty, sexy, cheeky and, yes, loveable feel of the show is evident from the very first act, in which Lyall demonstrates an intriguing technique for removing 1950s-inspired red-and-white polka dot dresses. Beware the portable bed-of-nails, ladies!

Her novel striptease sets the scene for most of the acts, be they trapeze, hula hoop, German wheel, aerial straps, lyra (aerial rings), pole “dance” or acrobatics. All of them are performed to recorded accompaniments, songs selected to support the love theme, with crystal ball juggler Speranza’s choice of South Park character Chef’s greatest hit, “Chocolate Salty Balls (PS I Love You)” the most overt.

How Much Do You Love Me? is quintessential Fringe in all aspects of its being. It is away from the madding crowds of the CBD Fringe diaspora in a circus-skill adapted, semi-industrial building in a suburban North Perth back street. The box office is a table set up in the carpark outside. Seating is orderly but unattached, free-range and just comfortable enough for the duration of the show.

The usher, a dazzling tea lady (Dingo Diva aka Lynda Moylan) who offers free cups of green tea from her trolley, gets into the theme of things with her passing quips like: “Everything I brew, I do for you.”

This CirQuest collaboration has been brewed to titillate, tantalise and amuse, which it does. It’s suitable for ages 18 years and over.

How Much Do You Love Me? is performed nightly until 1 February 2020.

Pictured top: Chloe Shadlow takes to the pole in her answer to the question, ‘How Much Do You Love Me?’

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Author —
Robert Housley

Robert Housley returns to arts journalism following a 20-year hiatus managing performing arts venues. He was the last arts editor of Perth’s Daily News and has worked as a journalist in London, Cape Town and Amsterdam. Robert’s favourite item of playground equipment is the swing and its enduring challenge: how high can you go?

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