Mansion and its prelude, Witch, have opened at the Sydney Spiegeltent just in time for the spooky season. These shows offer an immersive and unique experience but stumble over an overcomplicated storyline, often distracting from the performers’ real talents.
Mansion bills itself as a spine-tingling fusion of dance, circus, and burlesque. While it does have its moments of intrigue and impressive aerial artistry, it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as some of Bass Fam Creative’s other productions. The performances are the standout here, with the dance numbers and aerial acts showcasing the undeniable talent and creativity of the cast. The execution of these acts is commendable and adds a thrilling dimension to the show.
However, where Mansion falters is in its storytelling. While the haunted house concept sets an eerie tone and provides a backdrop for the performances, it doesn’t quite form a cohesive and immersive storyline. The company try to overcome this disjointed and somewhat challenging-to-follow narrative by having large sections of voiceovers and video montages. These just leave the audience yearning for a deeper and more emotionally resonant experience.
Witch introduces the Mansion‘s prior residents through burlesque, circus, and dance. The concept of exploring whether these characters are condemned witches or misunderstood talented women added to the curiosity of the performance. Unlike Mansion, Witch quickly showcases the performer’s death-defying stunts and wows the audience without the need for a plot.
For those new to this style of production, Mansion and Witch will provide an exciting experience. The dance and aerial performances are undeniably impressive and bring a thrilling element to the show. The talent and creativity of the performers shine through in these acts. However, the underdeveloped narrative sometimes makes the story feel like a means to validate the dance numbers rather than being an integral part of the performance.
Mansion and Witch offer a quirky experience with captivating elements, particularly in the performances. The choreography and execution of these acts are praiseworthy, showcasing the talents of the cast. However, the storytelling could benefit from more development to engage the audience with the story. While the production has its merits, it’s essential to set expectations accordingly and appreciate it for the unique experience it provides.
– The other Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig
Mansion runs for 100 mins (including 15 min interval) and Witch runs for 30 minutes. They both play at the Sydney Spiegeltent through 19 November 2023. Tickets to either show or as a pair are available through Sydney Spiegeltent.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Original Spin
Image credit: Tim Levy.