Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe 2014


0 Comments 16 March 2014


As a stunningly high cheek-boned, sinewy blonde walks on stage, dressed in an Adam Ant jacket and ladies trousers, immediately this is like no circus show that I’ve seen this Fringe. This is Idris Stanton, and he is your host for this evening of jaw-dropping feats of human strength, elegance and agility. With his flat Victorian drawl and eye-lined lids, he is reminiscent of Tim Minchin or Guy Pearce in Priscilla, and he has the comedic timing and easy rapport with the crowd to back up those lofty comparisons.

Soon we meet the rest of the cast of Papillon, a show all about transformation; and over this night of debauchery, looks certainly can be deceiving.  These performers completely understand the need for misdirection and surprise that good circus demands and, as a result, Papillon is chock full of gorgeous, scary and hilarious moments.

Take, for example, the pair of women who come on stage resplendent in navy leotards fit for the Russian Olympic ice-skating team. Accompanied by lilting instrumental music, the smaller girl begins to ascend the larger with astonishingly moving ease; at one point even standing on her head. Or, there’s the gorgeous topless strongman whose cheeky antics (dressed as a lion, chased by his out-of-work tamer) are complemented by his grace as he balances, stretched sideways and single handed, on two poles. Musical interludes are provided by the cute-as-a-button Mimi Andrews, belting out pop arrangements and giving the audience a good giggle.

The second half of the show takes on a more dangerous, exhilarating tone, and certainly pushes the boundaries of what modern circus can be. An impressive baton juggling display is conducted by Idris and the ‘strong woman’ from the first act; the fact that they swap in and out of tossing the same batons is remarkable enough, but then they resume with a few extra batons and proceed to switch clothes as well. Subverting the traditional gender expectations of circus is a clear goal for these performers, and I for one appreciated their fresh take. The audience is on the edge of their seats as the acts become more and more perilous – this is circus at its raw, edgy best.

Their run might be sold out for this Fringe, but make a concerted effort to see the next production that Highwire Entertainment bring to town – it is certain not to disappoint.

Papillon, Gluttony – The Peacock, Feb 28 to Mar 15

Share your view

Post a comment

Author Info

This post was written by who has written 18 posts on Buzzcuts.

Annie is a recent graduate of a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from Adelaide University. She enjoys reading, playing Scrabble and looking at pictures of gorgeously ugly dogs. Currently fulfilling the life-long dream of working in a bookshop, she has aspirations to be an editor.

Blog Authors

© 2024 Buzzcuts.

Website by A New Leaf Media