★★★ | Rouge
The final headline act the 2019 Underbelly Festival Southbank is the Australian circus cabaret act Rouge. The award-winning group is in a long line of acts that have played at the famous Southbank venue, the most memorable of them Little Death Club – a naughty but nice cabaret act from Berlin that tore the house on fire. While Rouge doesn’t quite attain this level of scandal (and nudity), they give the audience what they want: jaw-dropping acrobatics, skin, and lots and lots of chairs.
The cast includes the mind-bending Cyr wheel action and the phenomenal fire routines of Jessie Mckibbin, astonishing acrobatic feats from Lyndon Johnson, Liam DeJong and Madison Burleigh, aerial antics and more than a little cheek from dancer Paul Westbrook, plus the powerhouse operatic vocals of Issie Hart (who had laryngitis the night we were there).
The sexy Westbrook is the emcee for the evening – all he really needs to do is just stand on stage and that would be enough! But he’s got a job to do – not just to emcee but also to perform in some of the acrobatics – and perform he does!
Rouge is 60 minutes of twirling (the acts) and slurping (you – from drinks at the bar). And at the end of the show, you can meet the cast at the bar outside – what other show lets you do that? So go on and experience a naughty night – at the hands of Rouge!
Rouge plays at Underbelly until Sunday 15 September 2019. Book tickets here
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.