Reviewed by: Fringefeed
Review by Adele Aria | 28 January 2021

Opening with a sassy greeting and an invitation to cheer in classic Fringe fashion, Rouge generates a solid hour of entertainment that is worthy of applause, gasps of astonishment, and sensual screams of appreciation. In a spectacular display of strength, acrobatic prowess, carnality, and storytelling choreography, the troupe presents an exploration and celebration of sexualities and the human form.

Gloriously tongue in cheek at times, it is a subversively delicious serving of genre-defiance. The typical MC or ringmaster also serves in the traditional clown role paving the way for seamless transitions between main acts with an elastically communicative face. Yet he also provides erotic displays of aerial acrobatics and dance. Other performers similarly reveal themselves through the course of the show to be multi-talented, some having more capacity to tease and rouse laughs than one might first guess. In stimulating presentations featuring multiple performers, some classic circus props are used in novel and delightfully libidinous ways, such as the cracking whip and hoops. Little more can be said without revealing too much. Suffice to say, this is a show not to be missed if only to treat yourself to the discovery of how salacious circus can be.

In other ways, Rouge demands a rejection of categorisations as performers ooze questionable sexuality, platforming the often otherwise invisible bisexual/pansexual+ aspect of the spectrum. They also celebrate the feminine form in ways that refuse to centre the male gaze and the passive availability of it for consumption. The cyr wheel act, a giant hoop, creates a sense of simultaneous prop and contained world for one performer, who manages to gyrate, spin, and contort within its confines with ethereal grace. Later, she will be bursting with dominatrix energy and commanding the stage along with her pets. The masculine form also takes centre stage with vigorous frisson yet also includes moments of tender luxurious touch amongst exhibitions of psychosexual acrobatic vitality.

In a kinky, empowered, empassioned, and frivolous way, Rouge promises lustful energy and decadent visual spectacles provided with a licentious momentum to keep you enthralled. Circus will never feel the same.