Fringe 2013: CIRCLE review

From the moment that a BDSM discount coupon slipped out of my program as I walked into the venue, I knew I was probably in for one of the most sexy shows at this years’ Fringe. I just wasn’t aware that I was about to see one of the best sexy shows I’ve seen at the festival in all my years.

If you’ve ever wanted to see something at once trivial and heartfelt, Circle is your best bet. You’ll be treated to excellent impression work as the pair of artist slink their way through various sexually promiscuous scenarios, each tied together by single degrees of separation across eight surprisingly fleshed out characters.

Considering actors Bob Brader and Christel Bartelse only take the stage as one of their four respective personas for about 10 minutes each throughout the 60 minute performance, the play could have easily turned out to be a mash of unfunny sketches with a sexual innuendo to cap off each scene.

Circle is the sex show to see at the Fringe this year

However, every bit comes together in slightly unexpected ways. Each one could stand alone thanks to the great partnership that Brader and Bartelse share. They lock into accents and stereotypical mannerisms with ease, and they dance in and out of each character’s accompanying sexual identities as if they were their own. The results are hilarious. But in between all the situational jokes, lines of meaningful dialogue are also peppered throughout.

It takes no effort at all to drop sex jokes into a script and lope around in various states of undress. What takes skill and no doubt countless hours of practice though, is an act that does all of the above, has you laughing the entire time, and then subverts your expectations at the end with a dose of reality that’s uncannily moving given the crude context.

You will walk into Circle expecting some adult laughs, and you’ll get that. Just be ready to behold a polished, smutty show that that will leave you with more than just fleeting memories, it will seed some heartfelt ones too.

One more thing to note: there’s a scene in the play centred on the foreign world (to most) of cyber sex – this bit alone is spectacular enough on its own to warrant the admission fee.

Circle is the sex show to see at the Fringe this year.

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