Tales of a Strongman
Strength & Beauty @ Gluttony – The Bally
5:15pm, Sat 7 Mar 2015
Going from a great circus show to another circusy show was always going to be fraught with danger; it’s rare to have two classy physical performances in a row, and I’m discovering that I need a bit of variety from show to show. Still, the joys of scheduling being what they are, I found myself in a steamy Bally with a handful of families… and I’ve yet to not feel like Uncle McCreepster in those situations.
Sergei and Svetlana are Strength & Beauty – a couple (in the romantic sense) of strong-persons who use a simple narrative to justify demonstrations of strength and balance. A lot of their showmanship is familiar – I’ve certainly seen their two-person balances and throws before – but they manage to pull off their tricks smoothly and with a lot of charm.
Sergei is most certainly lean and ripped, with well-defined (and well-toned) muscles barely hidden by his skimpy red-and-white striped leotard, and Svetlana – who acts as the straight-person of the pair, throwing wonderfully derisive looks in response to Sergei’s goofiness – also looks the part in her matching costume. They drop plenty of gentle giggles into the show, with some comically bad singing breaking up their tricks. The narrative never reaches any great heights – the reminiscence of Sergei wooing Svetlana, though sweet, was as involved as it really got – but that doesn’t really matter… their good-natured presentation won the audience over, and lured the children in the audience onstage for a photo-op finale (though one of the children did express an aurally-painful amount of fear).
Tales of a Strongman was gentle, clean, family-friendly circus fun: nothing remarkable, but enjoyable nonetheless. The characters of Sergei and Svetlana were pleasant and engaging, with amiable crowd-interactions plenty of charm. They’d be well suited to the busking circuit, I reckon… but I left wondering whether they could actually find an audience in this chockers Fringe programme.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 7, 2015