Contemporary circus troupe The Dust Palace are in their 10th year as a company and have toured Canada with their adaptation of Christina Rossetti’s iconic poem ‘Goblin Market’ before bringing it to life at the Herald Theatre. Combining film, music, spoken word and acrobatics, the thrilling piece explores themes of temptation, sacrifice and salvation.
Two sisters, Laura (Rochelle Mangan) and Lizzie (Eve Gordon), are tempted by the goblin market man (Jay Clement) and while Laura gets lured into his trap, Lizzie ignores the temptations, and is forced to save her sister from the enticing deadly charms of the goblin man.
The three-piece circus theatre troupe stunned us with their visually stimulating and technically flawless performance, filled with acrobatic movement unlike any other. Forget about safety wires and harnesses, The Dust Palace explore new heights entirely on their own. The fearless trio proved that they are masters of their trade as they manipulated rope, silks, hoop, chairs and trapeze to showcase their aerial skills – which you could not fault.
Each performer had a unique talent that they brought to the piece, which combined created incredible imagery. The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ rings true for this show. Clement shown off his unbelievable strength as he effortlessly climbed and contorted himself around the rope, while Mangan and Gordon both demonstrated their agility and flexibility as they took to the hoop. A stand out scene had to be Clement and Managan’s duet on the trapeze, the fluent movement was hypnotising and left you questioning how they pulled off the impossible. Not only did the duo leave you gasping in your seat, they also let you into their characters convoluted relationship.
The set was minimal, and the soundscore was slightly quiet, but I guess why would you need anything else when you have raw talent like The Dust Palace. At times the storyline was hard to follow, but that could be due to being unfamiliar with Rossetti’s original poem. Nevertheless, The Dust Palaces adaptation certainly let your imagination wonder from start to finish and although the piece had sexual connotations, I left the theatre feeling very empowered as a woman.
The high-energy performance from The Dust Palace definitely brings out your inner-child. It was seductive and enticing and was jam packed with astonishing acrobatics, that let’s face it is no easy feat. But if you do want to try your hand at trapeze, hoop, rope or anything else that’s weird and wonderful, then the Dust Palace host circus classes for adults. Go on, you know you want to!
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