Conceived in the blistering heat of American festival Burning Man, Dr Clive’s Circus’ latest incarnation is a classic cocktail with flavours of rodeo, raunch and rap.
As with the previous show we saw by this troupe, the hallmark of Dr Clive’s Circus lies not just in the eclectic selection of acts – which includes singers, performance art, comedians and a contortionist – but in the way it wholeheartedly realises a particular theme.
The current show’s title “Ring Of Fire” is the kind of treble entendre polite enough to use in front of your grandmother, referring as it does to the show’s cowboy motif, the metaphorical circus ring (more a rectangle tonight) and the firebreathing antics of one of the acts Chivaree.
Leading from the front the good doctor himself is no shrinking violet, kicking off each half of the show with a high tempo and highly camp musical performance complete with dancers and a glittery outfit. The rest of the cast is no less impressive. Ace burlesquer Bettsie Bon Bon sensually wiggles her way first out of a cowgirl outfit before later appearing as a nurse. “Cowdelia” (Delia Ceruti) provides some bendy circus flair on the corde lisse while Hernandez’s performance art is a brilliantly brain-tickling affair. The less said about Bob Saviour’s spaghetti-flinging routine the better (a waste of good pasta if you ask us).
The stars of the night for us are undoubtably Abandoman. We’ve seen the Irish improv rappers half a dozen times and they’ve never been less than gutbustingly funny. Embracing audience interaction like a sleeping child and her favourite teddy bear, the duo string together impromptu crowdsourced references to create new stories and rolling numbers.
The show ended – how else? – with a humonguous hoedown featuring around twenty performers and some frenetic jigging. Dr Clive’s Circus is more than the sum of its parts and a concept which evolves oldschool ideas of variety shows into something refreshingly fun.
Watch many more circus and cabaret shows at Jackson’s Lane Postcard’s Festival this month.