St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh
When alternative cabaret came in out of the cold and went glossy a couple of decades ago, the mainstream it moved into saw audiences lap up its hybrid form. So it is with Scott Maidment's latest compendium of new circus novelty, which follows on from 2012 hit, Cantina, and which has just played a five month season on London's South Bank. Brought to Edinburgh by Underbelly Productions, and housed in a Spiegeltent as part of their Edinburgh's Christmas programme, Limbo is a sexy mix of gymnastic set-pieces performed by a nine-strong troupe, who include a live band led by New York multi-instrumentalist, Sxip Shirey.
It is a white-suited and wild-haired Shirey who acts as ringmaster of what is effectively an international supergroup, who perform on a tiny stage at the centre of the Spiegeltent. Shirey uses human beat-box magic to draw from the aisles the rubber-limbed Jonathan Nosan, a man who can lick his own boots with his leg wrapped round his neck, and will later appear to impale himself.
There is some incredible hand-balancing from Danik Abishev, male pole-dancing from Mikael Bres and a breath-taking ensemble sway pole sequence that delights and terrifies in equal measure. Don't be fooled into thinking that female performers Heather Holliday and Eveyne Allard are mere decoration, despite their titillating presence in a couple of one-line sketches. Holliday transforms fire eating and sword swallowing into an erotic art, while Allard's aerial routine is a dizzying show of physical strength as much as grace.
The Herald, November 29th 2013