Steve Hensby’s Circus @ The Opticum at The Showman’s Fair (for Fringe)
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
While I had heard of this before as they have done previous shows at the Newport Hotel, this was my first opportunity to see Steve Hensby’s Circus for myself. With no expectations and no real idea of what I was about to see, I am certain that the rest of the audience were in the same boat but from what we heard coming out from the Opticum (The Showman’s Fair), it sounded like we were in for a treat.
For Fringe regulars, The Showman’s Fair and the Opticum are both new additions, and the Opticum is a fabulous space. The band had a designated spot to play up top and gave it a ‘ye olde theatre’ feel to it, and that in itself created a buzz of excitement around the room.
The night started with a beautiful family scene and left you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. When Hensby came running out (looking like a decidedly less evil Willy Wonka), the family scene broke up and started to get a little crazy as Hensby and the band sang The Beatles’ Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite and the circus really started to take off.
Aside from the first song, the rest were originals written by Hensby; even though they were written before the idea for the circus came about, the performances of Madam Moet, Saskia Twist, Miss Terri and Equilibrium made the songs feel like they were written just for them.
There was so much attention to detail, from the choreography, to the outfits, and to the performance of the band itself, that everything worked together perfectly and felt like they had been doing this for years. Brass band Junkadelic even had a starring role as they came down to the stage and played for everyone with a couple of players running up the stairs and into the audience.
You see so many of these types of shows at Fringe every year with pole dancers, burlesque, fire twirling, acrobatic acts and contortionists; however, with the addition of the live music (complete with an accordion player), the original songs, and the talent of Hensby and the Steve Hensby Band, they made this one stand out from the crowd. They have brought something new to Fringe and created a show that is not to be missed.
Steve Hensby’s Circus runs until Feb 3 at The Opticum at The Showman’s Fair in the Urban Orchard as part of FRINGE WORLD.