Spiegelworld 2008 returns to the South Street Seaport for its third annual carnival with the world premier of Desir, an audacious new circus experience performed in an intimate cabaret like setting on a small round stage barely twenty-five feet in diameter. Patrons in the first four or five rows are right on top of the non stop action. Inspired by the adventurers of early 20th century Paris, the seductive Desir takes us backstage to one of the greatest nightclubs in the world for a Moulin Rouge-like revue of beguiling aerial and acrobatic acts from all over the world. The scale is a key element and with the audience snuggled in such close proximity to the handsome performers you can feel the heat.
A young man dressed in a sailor suit played by the enticing gymnast Olaf Triebel will be pampered by a bevy of beautifully feathered showgirls ushering in a series of captivating acts that will utterly astound you. The stunning performers, all consciously aware of their charms, contort their bodies into endless variations with apparent ease often ending with a sly glance at the audience to indicate “it was nothing.” The effect is a daisy chain of alluring acts performing on trapezes or a huge ottoman or often on the shoulders of another acrobat. .
Director Wayne Harrison’s wink and nod approach is a marvelous counterpoint to the skill displayed by the supple cast of over a dozen acts, mostly gorgeous gymnasts performing unbelievable feats to an intentionally vulgar soundtrack designed by Josh Abrahams. The scene after scene of magnificent hard bodies manages to be constantly fascinating. There is even a beautiful torch singer Maria Victoria Di Pace haunting the proceedings. The evening inspires thoughts of a long gone era that feels decadent and alive under the Spiegeltent.
Abstinthe 2008, the new improved version of last year’s popular burlesque-like show features an array of music and variety acts put together by Spiegelworld Impresario Ross Mollison with only one intent, “Create the best variety show in the world for the best audience in the world.” Abstinthe 2008 on a double bill with Desir is held together by an insult comic MC in the person of the Gazillionaire, who shares his hosting duties with a waif Penny. The two make a bizarre sadomasochistic duo overseeing the evening’s outrageous acts that include The Daredevil Chicken Club, who were picked off the streets of Berlin after creating a near riot with their act involving a banana. This is an extraordinary and daring combination of acts that accomplishes the creator’s most lavish dreams.
By: Gordin & Christiano
Desir and Absinthe 2008 alternate often with two show daily at The Spiegeltent, Pier 17, South Street Seaport, 89 South Street at Beekman. Showtimes vary from day to day at 6:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm and midnight depending on the day and show through November 2. For tickets and further details call 212-279-4200.