Doing a Bowie themed show or a circus performance at the Adelaide Fringe it can be tough to stand out, with an abundance of both in the Fringe guide. But in combining the two, Rebel delivers something new in a highly entertaining hour.
A Bowie circus is the Fringe show we didn’t know we needed, mixing one of music’s great catalogues with some terrific circus acts. And it’s all served up by a very talented bunch of performers, who not only swap instruments but move between the band and the ring to preform the circus acts.
At the centre of the show is Stewart Reeve, dressed in suitably glam costumes, who leads the performance with charisma and voice that’s well suited to the material.
During the songs we are treated to a range of tricks including acrobats, hula hoops and fire-eating. It’s a slick show, moving easily between pieces and with action that’s effectively choreographed to the soundtrack provided by the excellent live band. The very talented Rachel Trainor on drums and backing vocals is the standout among the fine ensemble.
The material has also been well chosen, spanning Bowie’s career from Major Tom right through to his final album, covering both major hits and some lesser known songs from the back-catalogue. There were some fine renditions, including ‘Moonage Daydream’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Blackstar’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’.
The only moment that didn’t quite gel was ‘Under Pressure’ in the encore. Here Reeve switched between Bowie and Freddie Mercury parts, with Trainor adding some backing vocals. This arrangement was a little muddied, where a straight split between the two performers in line with the vocals on the original recording might have nailed it.
Performing right through to the end of Fringe in Gluttony’s Wonderland Spiegeltent, Rebel is first rate entertainment with broad appeal. It’s the kind of show where you can bring your parents and your kids, and everyone will have a great time.
Tickets and details can be found here.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor (no relation to the drummer in this show)