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The Age Review Of Retro Futurismus

The Age review of Retro Futurismus

  • Arts

Cameron Woodhead
The Age
10 July 2016

Pumping new world of Retro Futurismus erupts from left field.

Brainchild of twins Anni and Maude Davey, the second incarnation of Retro Futurismus rockets into a galaxy of strange new horizons.
Between them the Davey sisters have forged careers in circus and cabaret, burlesque and theatre, and they bring the lot to their sci-fi variety show. It’s a wild and inventive cabinet of curiosities, with no spectacle too outlandish nor heel too high.

The opening number introduces the twins in gold lamé bodysuits, doing a tag-team rap on the state of the world, complete with sardonic comment on the recent federal election (a tart reminder, before they unleash the alternate universe they’ve created, of what we’re escaping from).

A talented all-female cast does variety with a capital V, and part of the joy is not knowing what to expect next. The show’s wide embrace encompasses traditional circus arts – an athletic trapeze act from special guest Azaria Universe, or Anna Lumb’s cybernetic hoop routine. It offers imaginative burlesque, as with the reverse striptease from Teresa Blake where her nude form becomes part of the furniture. And there are weirder visions that defy easy category. Gabi Barton’s trippy performance art verges on full-body puppetry, and is guaranteed to baffle and delight. Was that really a starfish serenade we just saw? A dancing slinkie? A fluorescent babe roller skating on bubble wrap?

The Davey twins get in on the action with dramatically contrasting sci-fi scenes – one a dystopian “Cockroach Aria”, a twisted song from the insects who’ll inherit the earth; the other a more buoyant space walk, where affection bridges time and space. There’s much, much more. And if one or two moments don’t gel with the free-wheeling spirit of the performance, the show is so tight and fast-flowing they barely register. With crazy costumes, pumping music, and a host of clever ideas, Retro Futurismus is glamorous and bizarre entertainment, full of left-field surprises.


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