BWW Review: FLAWS & ALL at The Black Flamingo, Fringe World Pleasure Garden

BWW Review: FLAWS & ALL at The Black Flamingo, Fringe World Pleasure Garden

Dawn Pascoe uses circus and dance to show Perth Fringe World that you really can be happy with yourself - FLAWS & ALL.

Doing a solo circus show is hard work! Just ask local Perth circus performer Dawn Pascoe who has taken on the challenge in order to construct a slightly surreal romp through a selection of vices. The issues she has chosen to look at will be intimately familiar to much of the audience. From a teetering cake stacked diablo (which doubles as breast enhancers), to trapezing with bottles of beer, Pascoe isn't afraid to get dirty.

Cake crumbs fly, the contents of the beer bottles douse her periodically, and the moment when she experiments with a broad splash of makeup paired with a fluorescent tutu and heels gives the impression of a child who has snuck into mum's cupboard to play dress up. The resulting combination of circus and dance is at times mesmerising, poignant, and endearing. Highlights include a playful but gentle dance around a low swinging trapeze which refuses to behave, some deceptively clever diablo work, and an attempt to eat cake upside down in a back bend whilst simultaneously teetering in eight-inch heels.

While the short dialogue sections were interesting and broke the ice somewhat with a reasonably quiet Wednesday night audience, I quickly found myself impatient to get back to the physical side of things. Pascoe shows an incredible amount of fluid strength and agility in the aerial sections, building a series of comedic and deliberately awkward shapes using all of her strength and skill as a performer. The show isn't all awkward body angles and periodic belching however. The moment where she strips down at the end of the show was poignant, leaving her standing before the audience in nothing more than her under things with no shame. The Black Flamingo is an intimate venue, and up so close an audience can see every jiggle and ripple of flesh, every bead of sweat. It suits this show well, highlighting the fact that even those who are strong and athletic can still have cellulite and thighs that wobble when they move.

Pascoe has great physical skills, and her interactions with the audience were fun and helped to break them out of their shells a little, but the energy in the room was decidedly muted. Whether a by-product of Fringe fatigue or just a shy audience, it felt at times as though they weren't entirely sure whether they should laugh or not. I would have loved to have seen an even stronger focus on the physical comedy, perhaps amplified through the music, or through a touch more clowning. As it stands, FLAWS & ALL is a touching and cheeky exploration of our imperfections.

FLAWS & ALL runs until February 24th at The Black Flamingo, Fringeworld Pleasure Garden. For more information and to buy tickets see www.fringeworld.com

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