Melbourne Fringe Review: LUMINOUS

Make sure to check out our guide to the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015

Ever dreamed of visiting the surreal and extraordinary world of Avatar’s Pandora? Well this is as close as you can get.  Straight from a sell-out Adelaide Fringe, the award winning LUMINOUS will have its Melbourne premiere at this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival from 16 September – 3 October.  LUMINOUS is a circus show where the performers juggle, balance, glide and contort themselves in the dark while covered head to toe in UV-reactive body paint.  Yes that’s right – a glow in the dark circus!  While we had seen our fair share of acrobatic shows and glow-in-the-dark art before, this would be the first time the two would be combining for one exciting show.

Fringe Festival

LUMINOUS – photo via Melbourne Fringe Festival

The theatre space at Gasworks Arts Park has been transformed into a night circus.  DJs play great tunes while punters can learn various circus arts from the tuxedo-wearing ringmaster.  We highly recommend getting there well before the show begins to grab a drink from the bar and learn some circus skills.  My plus one and I learnt how to spin plates and tried our hand at hula-hoops and juggling.  Finally it was time for the show to begin!  As the circus ringmaster led the excited crowd into the theatre, the atmosphere was electric.  We could not wait to see what was promising to be one of the most exciting and different shows at this years Melbourne Fringe.

Four-time Australian body painting champion Jessica Watson Miller has pioneered a new style of live body painting.  As the insect-like performers cavorted their way onto stage we could see them being painted with UV-reactive glow paint very fast and with great skill.  The outrageous glowing costumes and body paint perfectly suited the eerie vibe of the show.  We held our breath in awe as hand-balancing contortionist Greta Mayr bended her body into impossible shapes.  When aerial artist and strong man Adam Malone combined forces to perform a striking double act high above the stage on glowing curtains the crowd went wild.  After practicing our own juggling before the show we were put to shame watching Chris Willshire’s terrific bounce juggling where he managed to handle multiple balls in motion-blurred arcs across the stage.  It’s not often that body painters can make us laugh but with Chris Hawkins’s and Jessica Watson Miller’s combined comedy efforts we got to experience a sea creature grow legs which then refused to stay on the performer.  The live body paining added many magical moments to the show like this.

A combination of ultra-violet light, body paint, puppetry and out-of-this-world acrobatics, LUMINOUS is the only show of its kind at this year’s Fringe Festival and perhaps even Australia. Have a peek at this luminescent show before their magic vanishes back into the night.

Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda 

‘LUMINOUS’ runs 16 September – 3 October at Gasworks Arts Park.
The venue is accessible. 

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of LUMINOUS and Fuller PR.