Trying to make a point of seeing one show each Fringe which could be termed ‘physical theatre’ this year I avoided the temptation of NoFit State’s latest offering ‘Bianco’ and Knee Deep in favour of  Australia’s ‘Circa: Wunderkammer’ and feel the show more than justified my decision as it was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. Concentrating on a more Hi-Tec futuristic approach which still retained its basic humanistic core it also managed to incorporate a sensuous eroticism which I have never found in either of the previous shows mentioned. This could be in part due to its cabaret/burlesque leanings, gender role reversal or it could be simply down to the fact it was  downright sexy!

 Opening with a lone Hula Hooper in a scene which evolved at its own languorous pace, rather than the freneticism usually associated with these kinds of displays, this led into other members of the troupe joining her onstage in a linking segment involving a piece of elasticised string. This was a cleverly constructed piece showing a lot of fluidity and it set us up nicely for the next scene which involved a material which has long been a national source of eroticism; bubble wrap. A dance sequence which involved lot of that familiar popping sound certainly had me itching to get home and try it out for myself and I am sure I was not the audience member who felt such stirrings.

 Next up were two exquisitely formed guys who astounded with a headstand unlike any you have ever seen before. They were then joined on stage by several others of the troupe who performed in the role of mannequins before structuring themselves into a human totem pole. Next up was a male duo pole dancing in a dazzling display which at times appeared their bodies were floating in air as no limbs or body parts seemed to be in physical contact with the pole supporting them. This was simply breathtaking.

 A lone singer then sang ‘Hey! Big Spender’ as the two pole dancers performed a strip which from the heat generated in the venue by this time must have been as much a necessity as it was erotic. More Hula Hooping followed and this time it was beyond frenetic. A trapeze artist then performed a strip in mid-air getting into positions to remove clothing that I swear I have even managed myself when drunk, although in my case admittedly maybe not quite so elegantly.

 The next scene involved lots of throwing each other round in a frenetic free for all with bodies being utilised as skipping ropes before the pace slowed right down with a slow, languorous refashioning of Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ wherein  the troupe did a slow communal strip.

 What a finale!

 ‘Circa:Wunderkammer’ certainly have raised the bar, the trapeze and the levels of flesh with this show. It is fast paced-never letting up for a second- but not afraid to slow itself down at crucial junctures and there is not a moment when there is not something impressive happening. It is dark, sexy and downright erotic in both its ambition and realisation. This is what a circus style burlesque/cabaret can and should be. Beautiful!


Circa:Wundrkammer is on at 5pm at UndrbellyMc Ewan Hall until August 26th

  1. Nice choice – definitely my favourite out of the three, although the other two are also amazing in their own different ways. If you’re interested, hop over to for my thoughts – and some other festival circus beyond the ‘big three’!
    (not sure ‘physical theatre’ is an entirely accurate term though – think the fringe programme needs to expand its category list a bit more!)

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