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  • Nightlife, Cabaret and burlesque
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

How do you top a show that features sword-swallowing, fire-eating, acrobatics, beatboxing and magic, all set to a foot-stomping gypsy jazz soundtrack? For the programmers at the London Wonderground Spiegeltent, you don’t – you simply put it on again.

Since last summer’s run at the venue, the nine-strong troupe of musicians, acrobats and assorted life-riskers behind ‘Limbo’ have been to Edinburgh, Sydney, Adelaide and Bagota, and the result is a production that’s tighter than a hipster’s chinos. Just as well really, since this is the sort of show where much of the action takes place mere inches from the faces of the audience, and where a missed cue can leave you with a spare seat in the tour bus.

Not that you’d get that impression from the first five minutes. The show starts gently enough with a wince-inducing sequence from contortionist Jonathan Nosan, as sunglass-wearing ringmaster and musician Sxip Shirey lays on an equally uncomfortable soundtrack. From here the tone lightens and the pace accelerates exponentially, through breakneck tap-dancing, hand balancing, Chinese pole climbing and a breathtaking finale that’s too good to spoil. The tempo inevitably dips between acts as sets are shifted and paraffin mopped up, but even then musical skits and clowning means the audience isn’t left to thumb through their programmes.

A more robust narrative and less familiar costumes are perhaps the only things missing, but then this is undeniably a show that’s all about the spectacle. And if you don’t find yourself short of breath at least once during its hour-and-a-bit duration, there’s really no hope for you.


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