February 5, 2023

Last night in the middle of Northbridge a guy revealed me his bottom.

It wasn’t simply a random act of renowned Aussie anal hostility (Molly Meldrum wasn’t in the area as far as I understood). It was as prepared as a terrorist attack.

This huge enthusiast chap removed off, moved a ruler-length from my face, turned and touched his toes and winked at me. If he had actually gotten any closer I’d have charged him my normal charge for a proctological test (without a Medicare refund).

Seeing The Investigators (Left to right): Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Thomas McDonald and Leigh Rhodes.

It was the opening weekend of Fringe World and, of course, to be expected. But even so it was a surprise that in the middle of a Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton-inspired circus show and all the lost innocence that implies I would be on the receiving end of what sports commentators Roy and HG refer to as the “hello, boys” manoeuvre.

The full moon that rose over the Spiegeltent in the Urban Orchard in the Perth Cultural Centre came the tail-end the Dummies Corps’ Detectives at Cirque Noir, a funny and inventive show in which three skilled circus performers meld an impressive array of circus skills and comic acting into a madcap tale of three simpleton sleuths hired by a femme fatale in a glittery red dress (actually no more than a dress until the explosive final number) to solve a crime.

Enjoying The Fringe World Vibe: (Left To Right) Mwelwa Sendama, Michael Hoy And Patience.

Enjoying the Fringe World vibe: (Delegated right) Mwelwa Sendama, Michael Hoy and Patience.
Credit: Mark Naglazas

A murder is committed, with the corpse dangling from a rope high in the Spiegeltent and dripping blood all the stage, metaphorically speaking, before the said corpse gets up and draws a chalk line around his own shape.

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A lady in red saunters into her office, classic Raymond Chandler style, sending three check-suited gumshoes on the trail of the killer. The outfits are pure 1920s, the slapstick from an earlier era, the noir plot straight out of the 1940s and the overall inflection French (think Jacques Tati), which is a mashup befitting a program blending comedy, acrobatics, mime, juggling, aerial work, puppetry, mime and drag program.

The peak of the case is an hilarious series in which the silly Sam Spades get associated with an automobile chase in which they utilize their own bodies to develop the bouncing automobile and the props guy keeps plucking bits and bobs out of a bag – a fantastic deception – and tossing them into the action, consisting of a flock of chickens who roam into the course of the runaway vehicle. Chaplin would have enjoyed it.

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