Rouge is not for the kiddies – they do spell that out on the poster – unless you want your little ones to rethink unicorns and get aroused by lampshades for the rest of their lives. Rouge is very sexy indeed.
This blend of acrobatics and dance, and usually opera, is a dynamic and clever celebration of movement and sexuality, with some of the usual bigtop headstands and trapeze bits peppered in. The night we took in Rouge the opera was lacking, as “Mama Rouge” (Issie Hart) had laryngitis. She did appear onstage, but aside from rocking a red ballgown, didn’t have much to do. Shame, as the show would have benefitted from dome den-mothering, and I’ve heard she has an amazing voice.
Rouge at London’s Underbelly Festival
The defacto master of ceremonies then became cast member Paul Westbrook, a naughty, leather-clad Puck who went from cheeky to ditzy to sexy throughout the evening. The rest of the nimble cast are Liam de Jong, Jessie McKibbin, Lyndon Johnson and Madison Burleigh. Whether rather romantically spinning on Cyr wheels, dancing with abandon to thumping music or standing on each other’s head, as you do, the players are in tune with each other physically and emotionally.
My only complaint about this fun and electric performance was that some of the segues between acts seemed a little choppy, but that didn’t stop the audience from clapping along, singing along and flipping their switches. You’ll have to see Rouge to know what that means.
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A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.