Deadly sideshow stunts not for the faint-hearted
By Ciara Thorburn
Aerial Manx, the World’s Only Acrobatic Sword Swallowing Artist and three times Guinness World Record holder takes us into his world of pleasure and valour with his new solo show Gypsy Daredevil. Held in a basement of the intimate Butterfly Club at the end of one of Melbourne’s iconic laneways, it couldn’t be a more fitting venue for an amiable night of circus and vaudeville. The show presents a perfect unification of acrobatics, juggling, magic, street-style crowd work and incredible sideshow skills.
And I mean incredible.
Aerial Manx is unquestionably an Australian sideshow icon with a wealth of experience and his skills are next level, most of which have to be seen to be conceived. His presence onstage is a sight to behold: his extreme body modifications are an indication of his relentless commitment to his art. Being a unique and inimitable variety performer, our attention is undivided with the crunch of the first staple into his bare chest. But this is just the beginning, audience members look around wondering if the others knew what they were in for. Aerial Manx, a practiced master of tension indulges in the attention as the audience gasps and squeals in awe of the unexpected and the sublime throughout.
What surprised me most was that amidst the levels of sideshow extremity, there are elements of authenticity and beauty. The running narrative of #vanlife gives the audience an honest glimpse into the real life of this artist. It is not often that you can describe a freak show as heart-warming, but Aerial Manx holds his freak badge in high regard. The need for classic showman style banter becomes obsolete as he connects with his audience on a profound level, right before we experience quite possibly the most dangerous stunt ever performed.
With a name like Gypsy Daredevil, this show is not for the faint-hearted but for those who are looking for an extraordinary night out. Prepare yourself, your lovers, your gag reflex, and don’t try this at home.
Gypsy Daredevil runs until 12 May at the Butterfly Club. Tickets can be purchased online and by calling the box office on 03 9663 8107.