REVIEW: Venus Is… (The Dust Palace)

Venus Is...
Venus Is... Eve Gordon.

Q’s Loft loses its virginity [by Sharu Delilkan]

Venus Is...
Venus Is... Eve Gordon.

Everyone is familiar with the Roman goddess Venus, that’s often associated with love, beauty and fertility.

 So naturally I was bracing myself for an evening brimming with decadence, desire and debauchery.

And coupled with the excitement of Q’s new studio space The Loft’s first show Venus Is…, the evening promised a spicy piece of history in its making.

 I was surprised by the nervous anticipation I felt when I arrived. “What could we expect?” I wondered, from the nationally renowned aerial theatre company The Dust Palace’s latest show Venus Is...  But I soon realised I was not alone.  The palpable excitement in the air, as everyone gathered in the lobby space outside The Loft, was akin to one witnessing an historic event. 

Venus Is…, as billed, is a lecherous, steamy, athletic, naughty, poignant landscape of sex, lust, sadness, literature and song.

The audience was assaulted and aroused from the get-go with an amazing interactive set.  Seated on a seemingly random assortment of items like sumptuous chaise longues, wooden crates, armchairs, boxes and benches, resulted in a cross between grandma’s living room and a bawdy bordello.  And the varied aerial performance props were cleverly juxtaposed against an elongated four-poster-bed that seduced the audience even before the show commenced.

Overall the creative use of this versatile space deserves special commendation.

 Venus Is… the show is not for the prudish.  With sex as the key ingredient, it is a veritable orgy of nudity, erotic literature, risqué and sensual songs coupled with naughty teasing.

The narration by Ebon Grayman (Cirque du Soleil), a 7-ft Puck-like character, was masterfully mischievous in his unpredictable antics that eventually corrupted the audience.

The Dust Palace’s driving force, Eve Gordon,was in her element throughout the show.   Her precision acrobatic aerial performance particularly with Mike Edward, was carnal and raw – a dynamic I believe was all the more convincing because they’re romantically entwined in real life. You could literally cut the air with a knife and the audience’slonging to learn the secret behind their raunchy revelry was unmistakable.

The physicality and sexual tension of all the performers was exactly what the programme promised and the cast certainly delivered an illicit experience riddled with wanton release.

As producer Nisha Madhan (Shortland Street) said at the after party:  “I’m so lucky to be working with such an easy show to sell.  The work speaks for itself.”

In short the evening was powerful, pornographically charged, acrobatic with penetrating under and overtones, as well as amazing musical elements.

The talented Colleen Davis’ voice was as provocative as Gordon and Edward’s performances, as well as Geoff Gilson, Amy Richardson-Impey’s skillfully steamy stunts in and around the four-poster bed.

The variety of live music, with pianist Flavio Villani, as well as backing tracks that included cabaret and bluesy-type numbers, added to the show’s salacious texture.

The whole spectacle was contrasted by a poignant storyline told through the eyes of an older couple played by Edward Newborn (Matthew) and Lynn Waldegrave (Bianca), coming to the end of their sexual journey.

I adored having to physically move around in my seat all night to catch glimpses of the shenanigans taking place within different areas of The Loft.  The skill and intimacy of the prohibited material on show left the audience suitably stimulated and most definitely gasping for more.

As one of the people said after the show, “I pity the next group using this space, ‘cos how is anyone going to be able to beat that?”

If you haven’t already bought a ticket, I suggest you do. It will definitely be a great reprieve from the Rugby World Cuprowdiness. 

So look no further for the best there is in sexy cabaret,because there’s no doubt that Venus Is… is.

Venus Is… is created by The Dust Palace and produced in association with Stamp at THE EDGE and plays at Q until 17 September. More information at Q.

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