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Raucous, Intriguing and Compelling | Scotch and Soda @ The Sydney Festival

Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP The exterior of the old-fashioned Circus Ronaldo Tent in Hyde Park promised an interesting experience; how interesting remained to be seen.

The inside, small for a circus tent, is dominated by an octagonal, wooden stage floor, and a certain excited anticipation saturates a crowd that knows more about this show than I did. Then the performers emerge. I immediately think, “Call Central Casting!” Each one could be individually cast as a homeless extra, but the talent is unmissable and unmistakable. Often during the performance, I feel that I’m in an early twentieth century Romanian village watching a traveling show. The mostly-brass music that compels crowd to uncontrollable clapping is of equal focus to the accompanying circus-based acts. There is also a fretboard attached to a small case and a broken drum kit accommodated an old laundry trolley. The breathtaking acrobatics and balancing acts, the tap dancing act with old roller skates strapped to a pair of clogs, the walking on tops of empty bottles, the aerial stunts and other impressive feats along with the sheer energy of the show, propelled by the music, make for an exhilarating seventy minutes of spectacular, thoroughly engaging entertainment. You can’t help but to be taken up in the swirl of fast-paced action. In this world of the internet, Facebook and sound bites, it’s easy to regard those skills as passé, or to disregard them altogether, but seeing them up close in an old circus tent along with that raucous music, you can only be impressed and enthralled. No wonder the troupe received a deserved standing ovation. Scotch and Soda plays every night except Mondays at 10.30 pm until January 26, and it would be wise to book soon because once the word gets out, it will be hard to obtain tickets.

Photo: Sean Young

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