Melbourne Fringe: LUMINOUS review 4 stars

For the majority of us, life is totally grounded in the ordinary, rational and often mundane. So it’s a treat to step outside our sensible daily routines and instead have our minds totally blown and our perception of reality expanded through a display of theatrics, tricks, physical feats and acrobatics only possible at the Circus.
Produced by champion body painter, Jessica Watson Miller, Luminous, for the most part, captures this spirit and energy, while adding its own surreal spin on traditional circus arts.
On offer is a basic and safe circus line-up that includes juggling, contortion, hoop jumping, acrobatics, aerial silk and trapeze. The four extremely talented performers accomplish these acts flawlessly (albeit a couple of dropped balls and hoops), but rarely produce that ‘wow-factor’ or jaw-dropping reaction that’s so typically synonymous with circus, possibly due to there being rarely any stakes or risks taken in any of the acts.
What really then elevates the whole experience and makes the performance stand-out is its presentation and visual effects.
On a pitch black stage the performers are illuminated under UV lights thanks to being painted from head-to-toe with fluorescent paint. Each also bears their own beautifully crafted, distinctive and animalistic appearance, with a cast consisting of an orange-glowing beast with full-body paint and spiky crest; a green amphibious lady who notably had an inverted leering face on her backside and whose own face is unsettlingly peering out from what resembles the jaws of a Venus flytrap; a lizard-like figure with a tail; and an old man with a featureless face who in one very memorable scene chased his disembodied foot around the stage.
An alien-setting is enhanced through a hypnotic soundtrack and by the black-clad crew, who remain relatively invisible on the unlit stage while manipulating props, such as a moving plant or strange fish-like creatures that regularly attack the performers.
All these factors allow Luminous to successfully combine visual art, acrobatics and even dance elements with copious amounts of fluorescent paint to produce a visually unique and stunning spectacle. While the show’s actual circus acts might seem a little basic, its beyond-talented cast are mesmerizing to watch and through their precise and expertly executed performances they transport the audience to a fun, trippy, neon-lit world in which the show’s 50-60 minute duration will fly-by way too quickly.
Luminous is on as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at The Boardwalk Republic, Gasworks Arts Park 21 Graham Street from 16th September – 4th October 2015.