Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Chaz Royal’s Sexy Circus Sideshow “Contains Nudity & Coarse Language Contains Nudity & Coarse Language.” The advisory is repeated, so you know it must be good. After three weeks dieting only the the most culturally and spiritually uplifting work available at the Fringe, this is definitely the show I need.
The ringmaster is Portsmouth’s acclaimed Joe Black. Black is out and out the best performer I’ve seen this Fringe. He is a living cartoon. Larger than life, buzzing with frenetic energy. You might almost believe that, like an animation, he can contort reality as suits. Beyond the persona and personality, there is a gifted compare with both the timing and good grace to share the stage with the acts he introduces. I want to see a complete edition of Sexy Circus. This Fringe abridgement is not all it could be. Performer Xander Lovecraft, for example, is a larger than life presence but is rather lost in the hectic pace. It’s not entirely clear what he is doing and I suspect he can do much. There is a lot of time dedicated to The Monsters of Schlock. These two brothers (The Great Orbax and Sweet Pepper Klopek) are Guinness World Record Holders. Their set is extreme. Nails go places nails weren’t meant to go. Anyone with a pronounced fear of nasal invasion (the sort of person who fainted watching a class video on the force feeding of the Suffragettes) is going to spend a lot a time looking away.
The out and out star of the night is Anna The Hulagan. Anna is the reason god gave man eyes. Her striptease, with the aid of a fiery hula hoop, is like nothing else I’ve seen. It’s sensual and smart. Hugely intricate, yet spontaneous and spirit-lifting. A friend asked me later how one goes about stripteasing with a fiery hula hoop – “carefully” I answered.
Chaz Royal’s Sexy Circus Sideshow is a terrific show but it is in the wrong venue. Assembly 3 offers a dark (not quite dingy) combination of tricky sightlines, uncomfortable seating and a cavernous staging space which this big show struggled to fill. A saving grace was the lighting and sound work. The lighting is particularly moody. In a nicer or more characterful environment it would have been sensational. This is a show which needs its audience to be at tables drinking, relaxing and contributing to the atmosphere. Instead we’re as stayed and refined as at a recital of Handel’s obscurer organ works.
Sexy Circus is an antidote to bland stand-up, over ambitious underachievement and all the other perma-winges of the Fringe. It’s a vibrant, colourful experience showcasing some of the weirdest and most wonderful talent in Edinburgh this year.