Rouge follows a familiar pattern of cabaret mixed with circus performances.
For a seasoned reviewer of these shows, the bar has been set high by incredibly professional Fringe shows over the last few years, including Soap, Cantina, La Soiree and Limbo. Rouge, from the creators of previous circus-cabaret show Papillion!, doesn’t quite reach such heights, but it is a burst of energy with rippling muscles and plenty of tongue-in-cheek antics.
What Rouge balances perfectly is the internal melody of the show, how every strong and fast number is followed by a slightly slower performance in a different discipline. Opera is followed by acrobatics, dancing by fire eating. It certainly never gets boring.
All the performers have their own specialties, including one who balances on chairs stacked five high and another who spins parasols with her feet. Their individual temperaments contribute to make the show varied but overall Rouge is still cohesive in its play with gender and sexual attraction.
It is sexy and at times funny, but on this night the crew also seemed quite nervous and there was more than one wobble. Somehow the slight mistakes were endearing and made the audience more aware of how difficult it really is to make everything seem effortless.
There is also a bit of audience participation, which works beautifully.
With three perfectly sculpted male bodies showing every muscle, there is plenty to admire in Rouge. The women are less uniform in their roles, one being the main singer, one the acrobat and the last one the dominatrix.
There are a couple of less successful parts of the performance, but most of the acrobatic and circus tricks worked very well and the performers seemed to be having fun themselves. Rouge is the perfect introduction to the circus-cabaret blend of entertainment.
Rouge is showing at the Octagon at Gluttony until March 18. Read more InDaily Fringe reviews and stories here.