Tag: Anni Davey

REVIEW: Batton & Broadway Present THE CLASSICS

Veteran circus performers continue to delight

By Myron My

The popularity of circus shows is certainly rising in Melbourne. Although there are constantly more and more exciting performances being held, the opportunity to see a show with a difference does not always present itself. Presented by Batton & Broadway, The Classics is one show with quite the difference: all the performers are over 50 years old. It is a rare opportunity to see a variety of talented artists unite in doing what they have done for decades, and also to enjoy the reminder that that the older you get doesn’t have to mean the less can you do.

The Classics

Our MCs for the night, Sue Broadway and Debra Batton, share quite the charming camaraderie and their quips back and forth feel spontaneous and natural. I do feel, however, that more time was required for the transition of the acts and the show’s overall stage direction, which often popped that enchanting bubble of wonderment you want to stay in when at the circus. 

The acts themselves are a variety of hits and misses with the opening numbers not really having the pulling power and spectacle you expect from a circus show to draw in the audience immediately. The two sets of trapeze and silks routines seemed like an odd choice, especially when the second acts were nowhere near as strong as their predecessors. With different performers scheduled for different nights of The Classics however, this might not be a regular line-up.

Having said that, Anni Davey and Kathryn Niesche‘s trapeze act was enthralling to watch and provided something quite unique to the evening. The opening act for the second half was also notably enjoyable, with a rendition of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” that hit all the right notes in its entertainment. Peter Gray‘s clowning and juggling act was immensely fun and quite possibly the highlight of the whole evening, managing to get the whole audience warmly involved with his routine.

There is strong skill and a wealth of experience on display with The Classics, and you can’t help but wonder if the performers are this good in their fifties, how amazing would they have been to watch 30 years ago, and how much could younger artists learn from their combined wealth of experience and skill? Despite the lulls in some of the acts, The Classics is a great opportunity to watch these deservedly classic circus performers show us that they’ve still got it

Venue: The Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood
Season: Until 12 December | 8pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: Circus Oz

REVIEW: Anni and Maude Davey Present RETRO FUTURISMUS

Fabulous fashion but short on thrill

By Myron My

There wouldn’t be – or shouldn’t be – anyone with an interest in the arts who is unaware of Maude and Anni Davey. Working in theatre, burlesque and circus for decades, the twins have certainly left a name for themselves. In Retro Futurismus, they join creative forces with Anna Lumb and Gabi Barton to present an evening of vaudeville entertainment with a sharp referential nod to retro science-fiction film-noir pop culture. Sound like a whole lot to take in? Well it is.

Retro Futurismus

Aesthetically, this show is brilliant. The costumes are all eye-catching, and time and time again I caught myself admiring at how much effort would have gone into creating them. In terms of the performances themselves though, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed with most of the twenty or so acts seeming to lack a climax or crescendo to excitement.

Having said that, performance artist Leah Shelton stole the evening with her TV and movie homages, ranging from Hitchcock’s well-known moments of suspense to a particular heartbreaking scene from Bambi. Using the original audio (sound effects included), Shelton created her own interpretations of these iconic moments. Her miming was completely in sync with the audio and her Twin Peaks-inspired Chinese-pole dance was enthralling to watch. Sadly she is only a guest performer for the first week, as other artists are then invited to participate.

The sultry tones of singer Stella Angelico were also very enjoyable to hear but yet again, she is only on for the first week. What is on every night is Maude’s brilliant musical performance in the second half of the show, which was also the musical highlight of the evening, creating some tender and emotive responses from the audience. Similarly, the succeeding act by Anni was a touching, poignant moment which fuelled introspective thoughts.

I’ve seen some of these performers do amazing things on stage and was incredibly excited to be seeing them again, but I walked out of Retro Futurismus thinking that for all the bang and pop and retro aesthetics, it needed some more substantial ‘wow’ moments to really draw me in. Hopefully the future guest artists will be able to match or even exceed the brilliance displayed by Shelton and Angelico.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 28 June | Wed- Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: $38 Full | $30 Conc
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs or 9662 9966

Image by Ponch Hawkes