Review - The Carnival of Lost Souls: very, very spooky circus
Anthony Craig and Aurora Kurth as the Clown and the Gypsy fortune teller
The Carnival of Lost Souls
Written by: Graham Coupland
Artistic Direction by: Terrence O'Connell
Choreography by: Yvette Lee
The Roundhouse Theatre
Season is finished.
I caught this dark and deep production on the last leg of a four city tour that began in October and was fascinated by the magic of characters and content. It is a unique show, which I would like to catch again in a future tour.
It has a storyline of unrequited love, betrayal, clever circus acts, and a bevy of songs.
The characters are bedecked in period costumes from the 19th century and were immaculately made. Make-up and sinister lighting added to the idea of people in limbo, lost souls indeed who wandered slowly around with obviously no place to go. It was all very, very spooky.
The atmosphere was truly ghostly and sexy at the same time. The girls in fancy dresses became the aerialists, not in spangled tights but lacy underwear as they tried to impress the Ringmaster who was played by writer and producer Graham Coupland.
The Carnival is eternal torment for a Gypsy Fortune Teller and a lovesick Clown. They are both living in their own hell, each in love with the unattainable. The Gypsy is in love with the philandering Ringmaster
Aurora Kurth is nicely scary and fearful at the same time as she rejects the clown and fawns after the ringmaster.
Anthony Craig was a brilliant sad-faced clown who dominated the stage every time he was on – and he shared the vocals with Aurora Kurth from a score by rock band Platonic. Here though, the inadequate sound system at the Roundhouse let the show down as the vocals tended to sound very similar with soaring notes and inaudible words.
In between the tale of woe was the circus acts – some amazing acrobatics from a male trio who took balance to a new high – and Circus Trick Tease, the group of tumblers were a knockout. They created brilliant routines as they tossed the girl around and finally used her as a human skipping rope. That brought gasps from the audience. It was trust taken to another degree. But they also brought back some of the old conjuring tricks plus a lovely levitation table that The Conjurer (Richard Vegas) waltzed around the stage
Aerialist Hannah Trott took her turn on the aerial hoop and ribbons.
This Side Up were another strength team, - and they did some clever tricks with chairs.
Another act that floored me was the guy with a metre wide steel framed cube that the spun and made to some incredible moves. It was an act that needed precision and strength and he had both.
In between the acts the story continued as The Conjurer gives the clown a magical ring with which he hopes to win the Gypsy’s love. But once again to no avail.
It ran for around 80 minutes and they were all eye-popping.
Written and Produced by Graham Coupland Starring: Aurora Kurth, Anthony Craig, Simon P Storey, Mimi Le Noire, Richard Vegas, Circus Trick Tease, This Side Up, and Hannah Trott Artistic Director: Terence O’Connell (Spiegelworld’s Empire) Choreographer: Yvette Lee (Dancing With The Stars, X Factor) Lighting Design: Jason Bovaird Costume Design: Clockwork Butterfly Original Songs and Live Music by Platonic.