El Bizarro review (2.5 stars)

Review by Laura Money

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen a lot of circus/cabaret shows during Perth’s FRINGEWORLD 2016, or if I live an exceptionally exciting life but El Bizarro seems to be trying a bit too hard. Look, it’s a solid show complete with several burlesque/cabaret acts but its claim of the ‘bizarre’ is overstated.

The host of the evening would fit in well in the hipster scene – his Victorian mountebank costuming aids his cheeky and witty delivery. He banters well with the audience, and makes sure that everyone is comfortable – well as comfortable as a show that supposedly pushes the limits wants you to be!

David Eriksson is probably the highlight of the show – he’s funny, quirky and immensely talented. His unique style of ping-pong ball juggling and antics are embedded throughout quite well. The contortionist is talented, yet relies on the same poses over and over. The couple, Agatha Frisky and Gordo promise a titillatingly naughty late-night experience, yet when it comes down to it, are quite tame. There isn’t a lot of talent in removing one’s clothing and winking at the audience. They do manage some impressive acrobatics but these almost appear to be an aside.

Perhaps the biggest acts are also the biggest disappointments – Ellie Diablo the ‘sword swallower’ spends most of her act cavorting around the stage in a robe, semi-naked and not really even dancing. She expects the audience to be shocked when pulling out a tiny dagger at the end of her drawn-out act, and proceeds to swallow it. Yes, that is incredibly hard to achieve and she is obviously very good, yet it is only a minor part of her act and shouldn’t be billed as her main attraction. The finale consists of fire-breather Missa Blue – an act that is so hyped up, she seems to be annoyed when the audience isn’t cheering as loudly as she expects. Her fire-breathing is amazing, however she spends more time in her act waving her hands about and stripping. The fire-breathing elements are great, however sadly, few and far between.

El Bizarro is an ambitious venture – a chance to showcase the truly bizarre and authentic side-show ‘freaks.’ It seems to me, though, that they have become more interested in presenting something sexy that they have stumbled from their path a little. The show is entertaining, however, just not in the way one expects.

El Bizarro has just finished its run in Perth’s FRINGEWORLD (February) and Adelaide Fringe (March) 2016. Check out their website to see what’s next for the team: http://www.dangercabaret.com/events/el-bizarro/