Adelaide Fringe 2013 Review – Illure

By golly, Illure is a bit of a hard show to really pidgeon hole.  It’s not really Burlesque – more Show Girl. But even that is not quite right – there is some strong vocal performances here that root it in fine Cabaret tradition. Maybe Cabaret is a misnomer – illusion & stage magic weave their way through every part of the performance, that you might be tempted to call it a musical magical show, but then that is not quite on the money. Vaudeville ? –  and yet even that seems a limiting term.

So let me shoot the damn pidgeon.

Those of you who have followed previous reviews of Burlesque & Cabaret at the Adelaide Fringe would be aware I have often cast a level of disdain at (semi)professional dance companies and production outfits providing high rehearsed but emotionally sterile performances that are about as ‘fringe’ as a tonsure cut on a monk.

Today I have had to re-evaluate some of those preconceptions. I like it when a production causes me to do that.

Illure is clever.

Yes – it has high production values that certain other Fringe participants would envy, but it is not a show that hides behind light and sound to compensate an absence of narrative and innate ability. Yes – it is sharply rehearsed and slick, but glory be, the performers know how to connect and engage with an audience.

Additional bonus points are awarded for the use a real backing band –and their musical mastery allowed them to chop and change between jazz, Klezmer sensibilities, latin and classical in a beats notice, seamlessly.


Libby O’Donovan, all Elizabethan frills, blues growls and Ella Fitzgerald swagger was definitely the principal regal figure of the evening holding Court.  I would say stage magic may be the domain of the court jester – yet Illusionist-Dancer Charli Ashby was no ones fool – sexy, sassy and swift of hand, beholder of the eye.  Ranging from nifty card tricks to more technically difficult cage & box switcheroos – what is important here is not whether you have seen these tricks before but rather the originality in context to which they are presented.

Supported by a sensational troupe of dancers – that may I add made me rejoice in the fact that they all looked very different physically, in movement, in their forte dance styles, and yea verily, the projected personalities.  I should not really have to make such an observation, but some acts I have seen in the past seem to be characterised by carbon copy chorus lines devoid of genuine expression.

This is one worth getting out for, Fringe Dwellers – it may not have the same ‘edge’ I often look for in Fringe, but it is highly entertaining and manifests enough variety to put it well outside the box in many ways.

The remaining shows are Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February at the Adelaide College of the Arts, Main Theatre, 39 Light Square.

Jonathan Feb 22nd 2013 08:19 pm Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Music,News,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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