With lashings of sex, slapstick comedy, sideshow surrealism and circus-style showstoppers, to a soundtrack of chart-busting pop numbers, Empire
The show did very well in Melbourne last year, and this year’s instalment brings back many of the crowd favourites with a few new pieces for veterans. ‘Miss A in a Bubble’ returns – a pint-sized American-pie pin-up in star-spangled hot pants and a cherry-red bob; so do the acrobatic lingerie-clad trio Gorilla Girls, who leave very little to the imagination in a routine that feels (and sounds) a bit like ‘Little Mix go to the Circus’.
There’s no question that Big Mac Boy and Black Flintstone are one of the show highlights, with a foot-juggling routine that really has to be seen to be appreciated. The other stand-out is a slow-build balancing act by Turkish-Canadian ‘3D graffiti guy’ Memet Bilgin. It’s a bold choice for any Spiegeltent show, and let alone as the climax – but Bilgin holds the audience in the palm of his (steady-as-a-rock) hand for 10-15 minutes; you could cut the tension in the room with a chainsaw.
The hosts for the evening are louche sideshow freaks Oscar and Fanny – a husband-and-wife team who manhandle the audience, play mouth-shuttlecock with half-chewed pieces of banana, and deliver numerous open-mouthed what-the-fuck moments for even the most jaded ‘been-there-done-that’ audience member.