Cirque Non Sequitur

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

30/06/2012 - 30/06/2012

Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland

10/08/2012 - 12/08/2012

FUEL Festival 2012

Production Details

Visually stunning….

Deep in the subconscious of the world is a mythical menagerie of gods, creatures, sirens and spiders. The Dust Palace has journeyed to the very edge of reason, the beginnings of the world and the deepest recesses of the imagination to bring you a deadly sexy surrealist cabaret.

Drawn from the mythologies of the world and placed in Dali-esque alignment feats of daring, illusion, seduction and sedition are performed by a luscious troupe of gorgeous performers in a smouldering burlesque.

Amid a feast of baroque proportion emerges the sumptuous cast of dancers, aerialists, actors and acrobats who in this visual and conceptual treat take circus-cabaret to the level of the divine.

Sat 30 June 8pm
The Meteor  

The Dust Palace present 
August 10th, 11th, 12th – Q Theatre, Auckland

Homegrown fetish, fantasy and nightmare with mystery, humour, pathos, menace and gorgeous bodies

Review by Adey Ramsel 12th Aug 2012

Bizarre and brilliant, this dark, sexy cavalcade of burlesque teams up with circus and cabaret to titillate its audience to the edge of their seats.  

Just as you think you have the level of the joke, or the measure of the talent on show or the dexterity that sees you gape at the amazing feats performed before your eyes, you realise you know nothing. This troupe of nine don’t just bring something new out of the bag when you think you’ve seen it all, they rip it open, turn it inside out and you find yourself witnessing yet another spectacle far away and twice removed from the last segment.   

Whether it’s the sheer brilliance of the random concept of each and every act or the humour that bubbles up from inside you that quickly turns to awe, you know you’re in a special place. A place where talent has been nurtured and strict discipline has been honed to its own fine art.  

My admiration for this production comes, I think, in the sheer fun of it; its randomness and its attention to detail. Costumes are lavish and sexy or comical but classy. The choreography is exact. The lighting pin-points the seedy action and enhances the feeling that we are witnessing a raw, piece of decadence.  

I find myself at odds with the idea of describing what goes on and I actually think to detail some of the acts or items would destroy a unique part of this production. It’s not called ‘Non Sequitur’ for nothing. As each piece closes and another takes its place it doesn’t take you long to realise that you could be heading anywhere.

As a package it has it all: mystery, humour, pathos, menace and gorgeous bodies. It’s a throwback to the dark, heady days of cabaret, reminiscent of Weill and the underground dens of pleasure. It’s an evening of fetish, fantasy and nightmare.

Eve Gordon leads a dynamic team of performers who have mastered the art of timing, holding us in the palm of their hands. They lead and support each other in turn. Whether it’s in the form of cabaret game show host Neville encouraging the audience participation with his/her lewd humour or the timeless magic of the silk work above ground, this troupe is a strong unit and the evening is slicker, more enjoyable and a thousand times more professional because of it.

Entertaining and mesmerising, it’s the kind of international entertainment TV channels stopped screening years ago because they thought no one liked it. Go and see this show, you’ll love it. And once more its home-grown which makes it even better. 

Do I sound gushy? Probably but it was an evening of class that doesn’t come round all that often. 


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Tantalising images disrupted by humour; fantasy juxtaposed with hyper-realism …

Review by Dr Karen Barbour 01st Jul 2012

In the centre of the cavernous Meteor Theatre, the focus is a raised stage with a pole in one corner. Decorated with a glowing, scarlet table set with fruit and sweet things, the stage is framed by sumptuous folds of hanging crimson silks. From four sides the audience for the Fuel Festival presentation of Cirque Non Sequitur waits, glasses of wine in hand, in anticipation of the action to come.

A few scraps of fur on shoulders, fascinators in glossy hair and glimpses of patterned stockings are revealed in the red light: audience members prepared and eager to join in the ensuing action.

The action begins with a visual delight – a moving sculptural procession of performers costumed in black and white striped leggings and plastic tutus with oversize strawberry designs. While ‘I put a spell on you’ blasts through the speakers, the performers cavort across the stage, create moving tableaus and striking counter-balances.

As the table is removed, the central folds of silk become the setting for a solo, long legs and toes of the male performer carving through the space while superfluous layers of plastic costume are removed by other performers at opportune moments.

Throughout the performance the hanging silks remain both a central focus and the aesthetic highlight of the show.

A trio of women trade punches and kicks, ripping off additional layers of clothes before eventually dissolving into a pillow fight and giggles; a silver lycra-clad man revolves around the pole, fights space warriors and challenges the expectations of sexualised display – “I’m only dancing…”

Creating interludes during the performance, ‘Neville’ appears with an assistant in frilly knickers and an entourage of near-naked performers ready to draw the audience into playful games; the kind of playful games that might be imagined but are normally not played! ‘Neville’ confesses during the show that three years in drama school has led her to doing bad impersonations of the Topp Twins, which, as it happens, the audience loves.

A bearded man/cat in a suit rolls in a plastic pool, extending and licking a leg as he removes his trousers, and a white bunny struggles to strip off her suit, eventually revealing baggy white knickers, t-shirt and bunny tail. She then proceeds to hump everything in sight in a hyper-sexualised and slightly aggressive display, (arguably) uncharacteristic of women in bunny suits.

Drawing red clothing from a set of drawers, and subsequently a diminutive partner from a suitcase, a man dances a stunning pas de deux, transitioning with ease from the stage to the pole, spiralling through the light, limbs suspended. A rope replaces the central silks in one sequence and a woman cavorts in a glorious solo featuring some extreme hangs and fewer and fewer layers of clothes but never quite revealing all – ‘something is happening but you don’t know what it is’… lyrics from the varied sound track of popular music adding another layer to the images on stage.

Two fur-clad women turn on their master, devouring him in a feeding frenzy, and eventually the stage disappears under many layers of shed costumes, feathers, various fluids and confetti.   

The performance builds to a climax – nothing like a muscled, half-naked man and then a woman, suspended together in the silks and sharing a banana between them, to draw cheers from the expectant audience. However, titillation soon gives way to awe, elegance rather than tease dominating the pair’s movement as they curl and embrace; gentleness and grace belying the superb technique and strength of their partnering. The lyrics ‘tonight you will be mine’ emphasize the sensuality of the choreography.

Still building the momentum of the show, four performers in near unison climb silks around the edges of the space, spotlights emphasizing their forms as they swirl through the haze above the audience with enviable flexibility and confidence, finally descending to the floor once more. In laces and corsetry, a madam entices the audience as she removes her layers with skilful fingers, mounting the table for her final moments as the cast oozes around her, bearing fruit and sweet things, all consumed as the audience catches glimpses of flesh and the strobe light flashes faster to the end.

Memorable motifs – spiralling bodies in seductive red light, limbs wrapped and unwrapped from layers of costume, bound in silk and in rope – and contrasting moments of (sometimes uncomfortable) humour as the audience is incited to participate.

With the name ‘non sequitur’ suggesting some form of humorous and illogical commentary in ‘cirque’, the performers of The Dust Palace certainly deliver. Luscious images, skilful layering of elements of circus, burlesque, dance comedy and music, combine with careful theatrical timing and result in a well-crafted work. Cirque Non Sequitur offers for an appreciative audience tantalising glimpses but never the full reveal, sexualised images disrupted by humour, fantasy juxtaposed with hyper-realism, and gendered performances troubled by misrecognition and subversion.

All in all, a very entertaining, sexy and engaging evening from a company of performers I definitely want to see again!


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