Steampunk circus enthralls audience

Kinesonic by Vagabond's Hat. ANL-141111-164831001
Kinesonic by Vagabond's Hat. ANL-141111-164831001
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On Friday night I was transported into a steampunk fairytale at the South Holland Centre.

I arrived in the world of Victor the Victorian who, with his workers, makes sure that their musical machine keeps music alive.

The venue was packed with an audience of all ages, which would suit Vagabond’s Hat down to the ground as they say that the show is suitable for ages five to 500.

Steampunk fashion is known for being quirky, and this show certainly was quirky. The stage was set up to look like a different world, and smoke billowed out into the auditorium as we took our seats.

When the show begins, it’s hard to work out what is actually happening. The performers don’t utter a word throughout the show, they simply use music and sound effects, but the show doesn’t need any speech – the music mixed with circus skills speaks for itself and the sound effects made by the performers add a sweet charm to the show.

The workers begin to get a bit rowdy in the opening scene, and an accident caused by their behaviour leads to their ramshackle musical engine unable to start.

The team have to pull together to restart the machine, using a combination of circus skills, slapstick comedy and music making.

Children and adults were clearly enjoying every minute of the performance.

An older gentleman behind me was gasping for air as he laughed so hard, while young children in front of me jumped up and down in their seats during all of the exciting moments.

There was music for everyone throughout the performance, both performed by Vagabond’s Hat and recorded.

Le Freak by Chic and Mr Sandman by The Chordettes feature when trying to restart the machine.

The music the “workers” made during the performance would have appealed to anyone.

There were pop, rock, dance, techno and even classical tunes played to great applause.

The acrobatics, static trapeze act and juggling thrills the audience. The skills on show are just as good as any you would see in the big top and interesting objects are used throughout the performance, including oil drums, musical trigger pads and Numa the musical vacuum – which you soon learn are vital to the show’s excitement and mystery.

Lasers are used at one point during the performance – green lasers help to play a tune which helps to get the musical engine back on track.

As anyone sat in the audience on Friday night will tell you, there didn’t seem to be one person there who wasn’t acting like a big kid (or a little one) and having a brilliant time.

When the machine started working again, bubbles poured from the ceiling of the South Holland Centre, almost like snow falling from the sky, which gave a magical feel to the already mysterious and interesting show.

Kat Wakefield