Category Archives: Circus

A Second Serving of Mayhem from Cwtch Cabaret

A Second Serving of Mayhem from Cwtch Cabaret

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Cwtch Cabaret

29th Feb 2011

Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD

Stars: *****

Back for a second round of mayhem Cwtch Cabaret’s second tour showcased a whole new bunch from the wacky, weird and wonderful world of variety acts. With a new Cardiff venue in the beautiful Richard Burton Theatre (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) Cwtch have clearly taken a huge leap forward and somehow managed to put on an even more spectacular show than last time.

Once again hosted by the beautifully mismatched pair of Chris Lynham and Kate McKenzie, they perfectly fanned the flames of madness and magic that made the night so spectacular. This duo never get boring, they are always exciting and unpredictable. The pure enjoyment they get from performing spills over into the audience and creates an atmosphere of fun and frivolity that you can’t resist. Chris’s offbeat satire on film noire was intelligent and hilarious, you can never predict what he will do next.

The most varied and versatile performer of the night was multi-award-winning Australian Jess Love, graduate of Melbourne’s National Institute of Circus Arts. Her first act, “The Majorette” delivered high-energy, body-bending skipping tricks. As “Maureen the Cocktail Queen” she presented new take on comedy burlesque, with a custom built bra that incorporated a fruit juicer she captured the audience with her kooky charm and charisma. Her final act was certainly one of the highlights of the evening, taking us on a trip to the land of the outright odd. A strangely feminine young man enters upstage and starts to perform a confused striptease, only to reveal a passion for wearing women’s underwear. If this wasn’t mind boggling enough, our confused young man then begins to hammer a nail into his nose! This fusion of off the wall burlesque and side show was completely original and gorgeously gruesome. Overall a delightfully talented young woman who will not fail to entertain.

Jess Love (From

Petra Lange is an aerial artist like no other. Punky Petra violently destroyed the delicate, gentle stereotype with her emotionally intense rope performances. Her “Tango” was confident, sensual and just simply beautiful. She performs with her heart, providing a story through her acrobatic skills and emotional performance. Her second routine on aerial silk or tissu, was overflowing with confidence, rebellion and in your face attitude! As she plunged from the top of the rope to stop just before hitting the stage the audience let out a huge gasp, equally dangerous and enchanting she is completely individual and spellbinding.

Showcasing inventive card tricks and imaginative juggling skills Luke Wilson is the perfect showman. He elegantly framed his magic act with chat to the audience and natural, nerdy charm. Although he had to compete with an audience comedian who stated their name was “Dave Id” he still easily wowed the audience with his impressive sleight of hand. To keep his juggling act relevant to the 21st century audience he performed to a polished blend of British and Oriental music that perfectly complemented his routine. Using one to five clubs and his whole body to keep them airborne he proved why he is a visiting Professor of Juggling at Stockholm’s University College of Dance and Circus.

Luke Wilson (From Photo by Matt Hennem)

Treading the tightrope of controversial comedy was Frank Sanazi. Fuhrer of the “Fatherlounge” he reinvented Sinatra’s classics to fit his extreme right (or extremely wrong) agenda performing “Mein Way” and “Feelin’ Guten”. The songs were painfully funny and his interaction with the audience showed a comedian of true talent.  His tongue in cheek performance made it impossible to take offence at the leader of the Iraq Pack, whose other members include Osama Bing Crosby, Dean Stalin and Saddami Davis Junior. As his website says “He may not be a real nazi but he’ll still give you one helluva gas!”

The true variety and high speed pace of this season’s tour meant the fun was non-stop. With hardly a second to regain their breath the audience were alternately crying with laughter or gasping in admiration. Once again I encourage everyone to visit the Cwtch Cabaret website and get tickets for their next tour in May, when I’m sure they will offer up another first-rate serving of the brilliant and bizarre.

Reviewed by Chelsey Gillard
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Review Of WMC Incubator Project

New and Exciting Theatre in WMC’s Incubator Project

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Icubator Project

Wales Millenium Centre Weston Studio




WMC’s Incubator Project offers a platform for artists and companies to develop and showcase new work in order to get feedback from industry professionals and the public. The centre offers rehearsal space, monetary grants, technical support and specialised tutoring to the companies involved. They welcome work in Welsh and English, in the mediums of theatre, dance, circus, site specific pieces and digital or online art. The WMC website describes the Project as “a test bed for creation, a hub for development and an opportunity to grow networks and receive feedback.”

As part of the Weston Studio’s Autumn line up, four companies developed and performed their ideas.  The first company to take to the stage (or not quite in this case) was Notional Theatre who performed their piece Awkward Turtle Flips the Bird. This is thought to be the first time anyone has tried to stage a dictionary and in this case the language of choice was slang gestures.  Using many novel ideas like projection screens, voice-overs but no dialogue and putting the audience on the stage whilst the performers jumped around the seating area and raised platforms amongst the spectators made this piece very intriguing. Although I have no idea how this piece will develop or where it could find a home it was still very interesting and hilariously funny as the performers put everything into “flipping the bird” or demonstrating “the awkward turtle” alongside a whole menagerie of creatures mimed to point out a situation is somewhat awkward. I really enjoyed this performance and I hope to see it develop into something that could be staged at a festival. Keep an eye out.

Next up was 3D Theatre with their Welsh language play Wyneb Dros Dro (Temporary Road Surface). Although I am not a Welsh speaker it was clear to see that the piece explored family tensions at Christmas time. Dyl and Rhian spend the whole journey from North to South Wales bickering and even manage to switch the SatNav to speak German. When they arrive at Dyl’s mother’s house she has a surprise for them; her new toyboy! Even though much of the language went over my head this was a dynamically performed piece and I really wish I could have understood more. Originally performed at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham the incubator project has given the company and the writer, Glenn Jones, the chance to develop the script and the characters and with a bit more work I think this could be a really funny slice of Welsh theatre.

Crashmat Collective took us out of the theatre into the rehearsal space which had been transformed into a restaurant, complete with climbing ropes, an aerial hoop and a trapeze bar for their performance Super Pseudo.  In their circus-theatre piece their aim was to blur the lines between audience and performer and explore the idea of private and public personas in the work place. Each performer was outstanding, showcasing a variety of circus tricks that blended seamlessly into the narrative. The music was well chosen and some of the lighting was just stunning. The company hopes to develop this idea into a full dining experience and I will be one of the first to put my name down for tickets.

Last but not least we were taken to the foyer where Jessie Brett performed her dance piece Woolgatherer. At first Jessie blended into the audience sat on sofas in a circular arrangement, then suddenly had broken into a quirky and inventive dance. With a range of musical styles the dances were always endearing and fun. She bought a smile to everyone’s face. The idea is that this would be performed outside in a crowded space such as a bench in a shopping centre or at a festival. I can really imagine seeing Jessie perform in the Meadows in Edinburgh during the Fringe.  I really hope she can take this piece to a wider audience because she has a brilliant and heart-warming character.

I wish all of the artists and companies who performed at Incubator the best of luck and I really hope to see their work at a later stage of development in the future.


Reviewed by Chelsey Gillard

For more info on the Incubator Project click here

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