Amid the mirrors, stained glass and velvet curtains of the 1920s Spiegeltent a band of acrobatic, fire-eating, sword-swallowing, tap-dancing performers are trifling with audience’s hearts.
Coney Island fire-eater Heather Holliday winks coyly between mouthfuls of flame. Burly blokes and cocktail-wielding women are mouth agape as Antonio Vargas Montiel, a muscular Spanish acrobat in tight black jeans, balances his entire body atop one tall, thin pole.
Everyone watching Limbo, a dark, thumping and exotic circus-cabaret coming to Spiegeltent Wollongong in April, is smitten by its cast – a reaction its director, Scott Maidment, wanted from the show’s beginning.
“Someone once said to me, ‘I think you’ve created the first bisexual show’,” he says. “People fall in love with the boys and with the girls in Limbo.
“When we first did the show five years ago someone told me their 12-year-old daughter thought it was like Alice In Wonderland while the people on the other side thought it was the sexiest date night they had ever seen.
“It’s sexy without being sexual. It’s not sleazy or sordid. That’s the tightrope I like to balance on. Audiences fall in love with the performers. They get a shiver.”