Party Ghost at Edinburgh Fringe ★★★
A circus show which delivers on visuals & vibe – but somewhat forgets the circus.
There’s a delightfully dark atmosphere – an achievement for mid-afternoon – for this mash-up of circus skills, drag and performance art. The ambience is just right, the scene well-set for some heart-pumping thrills and jumps from the seat.
There’s no denying that performers Olivia Porter and Jarred Dewey give thoroughly committed, eerie and unsettling performances of skilful physical movement – and the dark humour running throughout the production is a nice contrast compared to some of the more mainstream jollies available elsewhere.
That Party Ghost doesn’t quite deliver on the thrills it promises (at one point, this reviewer was resolutely un-shocked by the surprise appearance of a ghost at his shoulder) may be partly down to scheduling, and partly down to a venue layout which leaves much of the audience insulated from the possibility of a surprise, hair-raising encounter with a passing ghoul.
Unfortunately, for a show like this to really fly, the circus skills need to really shine. Sadly, the emphasis seems to have been more on the – admittedly impressive – framing and narrative. What that leaves you with is a feeling of having been shown something with amazing packaging, but not getting to really unpack the gift inside.
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