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Fringe review: Gorelesque

Adelaide Fringe

Horror and burlesque collide with often frightening results in Gorelesque, a show that doesn’t just push the boundaries of imagination and decency – it obliterates them. ★★ ½

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Presented by Adelaide’s Velvet Chase Productions, Gorelesque returns to Adelaide Fringe for a third season, promising “burlesque noir at its finest”.  But beware, these sultry women are more likely to sacrifice than seduce you.

The show opens with a dark number that begins with an unrequited love and ends in death. From there, there’s a comedic routine from a fiery murderess, a confusing liaison between lovers in a graveyard, a delightful romp with Lizzie Borden and a few acts which can only be described as downright disturbing.

The acts play out against an eccentric soundtrack of music featuring everything from upbeat love songs to French serenades and ear-piercing banshee wails. Performers take to the stage in costumes suited to the theme of their piece, so while some are beautiful gothic designs, others look like something straight out of American Horror Story.

Dark and deeply disturbing, with frequent nudity, Gorelesque is at times uncomfortable to watch and will appeal to a very particular set of tastes; audiences will either love or hate the show. Different shows will feature different performers, so they won’t all be exactly the same, but on this particular night, it was more miss than hit for me.

Also, a little tip for those brave enough to head along – if you want to avoid being covered in fluids, don’t sit in the first two rows of seats (affectionately known as the “Splash Zone”).

Gorelesque plays at Masonic – Phoenix Room until February 24 and Masonic – Owl Room from March 7-10. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.

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