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Scotch and Soda


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Scotch and Soda promises to transport audiences to a dusty parallel universe for a “whiskey-soaked evening of raucous dance and dextrous feats”.

You’ll have to BYO whiskey, but in every other way this new cabaret-circus show from the cast and creators of previous Adelaide Fringe hit Cantina fulfils its pledge.

Atmosphere is paramount to the success of the production, which seeks to conjure a bygone time with grungy Depression-era circus costumes, whacky vaudevillian characters and “big brass gyp-hop/funk fusion” music. It works wonderfully well in the Aurora Spiegeltent setting, and for maximum absorption audience members would be best to brave the less-than-comfortable seating surrounding the central stage (which mean there’s no avoiding the occasional flashes of full-frontal male nudity).

scotch and soda promo from Company 2 on Vimeo.

The delineation between the acrobats (from Brisbane-based Company 2) and the musicians is frequently blurred in a performance featuring a crazy card game, roller skates, a pedalling postie, springboard routines, pyramids, handstands, balancing on champagne bottles and aerial acrobatics. Favourite elements include the cutely choreographed love-fight dance with a double dose of slapstick, the daring bicycle acrobatics and slick aerial routines.

Scotch & Soda never quite reaches the heights of Cantina – it lacks the wit, fluidity and narrative of that production. Nonetheless, a rustic, haphazard quality is part of the show’s charm, and the live music is brilliant. The Crusty Suitcase Band, led by percussionist and composer Ben Walsh (TomTom Crew), are a team of polished musicians (playing instruments including sax, trombone and double bass) who give the performance cohesiveness and added oomph with a raucous ragtime soundtrack.

I usually prefer my scotch on the rocks, but a session with Scotch & Soda is an entertaining and fun way to spend an evening.


Scotch and Soda. Photo: Prudence Upton

Scotch & Soda is playing in the Aurora Spiegeltent, Garden of Unearthly Delights, until March 7.


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