Festival Club at the Paradiso Spiegeltent, Aotea Square, Auckland

04/03/2015 - 22/03/2015

Auckland Arts Festival 2015

Production Details

4 March – 22 March 2015  
The Festival Club at the Paradiso Spiegeltent, Aotea Square

The Colenso BBDO season of LIMBO comes to the Festival Club at Auckland Arts Festival 2015, all a-sizzle after two sensational sell-out summer season s on London’s Southbank and at the Brisbane and Sydney Arts Festivals.

Staged between heaven and hell, LIMBO is dirty and dangerous stuff, whisking audiences in to a sinister netherworld of jaw-dropping contortion, gut-churning aerial acrobatics, mind-boggling illusions and fiery flames hot from Dante’s inferno.

Presented in the magnificent Paradiso Spiegeltent, home to an array of swinging, searing gigs throughout the Auckland Arts Festival 2015, LIMBO comes complete with an international cast, each expert in their twisted fields.

The hair raising skills of Belgian’s expert contortionist Aurelién Oudot sit alongside Coney Island’s sword swallower and vintage beauty, Heather Holliday; Europe’s gravity-defying Chinese pole master and beatboxer, Mikael Bres; Australia’s acrobatic dancing sensation Hilton Denis, and Russian hand balancer Danik Abishev.

Dominated by a rambunctious live band under the hair-raising direction of New York’s Sxip Shirey, LIMBO invites you to live dangerously; get right up close to the artists, see the sweat dripping and be amazed by their skills. Alone or together – they’re hot!

The Colenso BBDO season of LIMBO runs 4 – 22 March 2015 at the Festival Club in the Paradiso Spiegeltent, in Aotea Square (see performance details below). Other Festival Club shows include Neneh Cherry with Rocketnumbernine+, Phox, Depedro, Lake Street Dive, and Electric Swing Circus.


The Colenso BBDO season of LIMBO
The Festival Club, Paradiso Spiegeltent, Aotea Square
Wednesday 4 March – Friday 6 March, 7.00pm
Saturday 7 March, 5.00pm & 8.30pm
Sunday 8 March, 5.00pm
Tuesday 10 March, 7.00pm
Wednesday 11 March – Friday 13 March, 7.00pm
Saturday 14 March, 5.00pm & 8.30pm
Sunday 15 March, 7.00pm
Tuesday 17 March, 7.00pm
Wednesday 18 March, 9.30pm
Thursday 19 March – Friday 20 March, 7.00pm
Saturday 21 March, 5.00pm & 8.30pm
Sunday 22 March, 7.00pm

Price: GA $75.00 | GA Friend/Conc/Group $69.00 | Booth (9 seats) $675.00
Book at Ticketmaster:
P: 09 970 9700 or 0800 111 999  


Spectacle , Physical , Cirque-aerial-theatre ,

1hr 15 mins (no interval)

Hot, wild and tight

Review by Candice Lewis 05th Mar 2015

From the moment we step inside the steaming hot Spiegeltent, it reminds me of how HBO’s series, Carnivale, made me feel; set in 1930’s Dustbowl America, it was creepy and beautiful in equal measure. Limbo, as the name suggests, straddles the world between heaven and hell – and all the players are riding hard and graceful, poking gods in the eye and raging against self-imposed prisons.

Despite the bikram yoga level of heat (wear something cool) and technical difficulties, the show is simply magnificent. From the outset, a man (Sxip Shirey) in an ill-fitting white suit brings to mind an American television evangelist, only his hair is wild and the remnants of white feathers fly off his shoulders. Shirey is a corpulent angel, the music master, puppeteer and conductor of struggling souls, beckoning forth his first victim (contortionist Aurelien Oudot) as if on invisible strings.

Left alone on the stage, Oudot is equally surprised as the audience when his body follows invisible instructions, impossible configurations that boggle the mind. He is amazingly graceful and inhabits his body with easy presence: beautiful to watch.

Director Scott Maidment has had his work cut out for him in making such a dangerous and delicious piece of theatre work so well, yet every performer is precise and magical in the execution of each scene. When hold-ups do occur (and I’m sure they’ll be ironed out) the audience are wonderfully patient and supportive. When performers are working with fire and lighter fuel in a tent, we’d rather wait the extra minutes than have anyone risk their safety.

Each performer is wonderfully talented in his or her own way, all bringing a brand of playful sexiness associated with the original spirit of Cabaret. Watching either Mikel Bres or Danik Abishev feels like a poem made into a body; a poem that tells it all and yet wastes nothing with excess. With the clever use of light columns and smoke, the stage is often turned into a cage that the performer attempts to break free of.

Bres tries to climb his way free on the Chinese Pole and Abishev is bought onto the stage in chains. Abishev emanates joy in his performance and it ripples through the crowed like a small wave. I watch the muscles in his arms as he balances on a vertical metal pole, small movements shift beneath the skin, one hand only. We are quiet, holy quiet, in the temple of the tent.

I’m enjoying admiring all of the performers and wonder what minxy little Heather Holliday will be getting up to. Oh, just sword swallowing and fire eating. No wonder she looks so pleased with herself; she defies death and has hell for dinner. Hilton Denis tap dances and plays up to the audience with much appreciated cheekiness. He seems to be one of the few players unafraid of the white suited puppeteer. 

Evelyne Allard is an Aerialist wearing ‘bottom shorts’ (shorts that are designed to allow the bum to fall out). She is sometimes sassy but suits her more melancholy moments; her solo performance marks a moment of being granted some kind of freedom. A large, firm circle of rope provides the frame for her aerial acrobatic dance … Weary (and probably genuinely overwhelmed by the heat) she is lowered into a box and appears to be hoisted away. Unsurprisingly, she is not in the box when it opens, but that only shows that I’m a bit jaded when it comes to ‘magic tricks’. What does fly out of the box is [spoiler averted]. 

The most wonderful part of the show is when all of the physical performers (bar Allard) do this absolutely dizzying and beautiful swooping on vertical bendy poles. Yes. Vertical bendy poles. I can’t stop laughing: it’s amazing! Here comes Danik Abishev, right towards me … Oh my god, I think … Yes, he just reached down and touched the top of my head! Then he swoops down to the lady I spoke to when we first arrived, grabs the glasses off her face and puts them on! She looks like she’s going to pass out, which makes me laugh even more.

It’s been a hot and wild little night in the tent; the music is great and the performances are as tight as the performers’ bums. And that’s really saying something. 


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