Perhaps it is too early to judge the 2011 Award for the Most Ridiculous Media Story About Circus, but the early contenders seem to have it sown up.
In second place is the story about an Australian whip-cracking sword-swallower who was arrested mid-performance while busking in New York, because he… wait for it… “was swinging whips and in possession of a sword.”
But the most ridiculous circus story of the year has to be the beat-up from Channel Nine’s A Current Affair (ACA) about Dangerboy and Ivy, of Alchemical Cabaret. Keen to one-up their competition at Channel 7, ACA decided to manufacture some controversy about an act in Australia’s Got Talent.
Of all the acts to chose to paint as evil, they picked Dangerboy and Ivy’s “gAstronomy” act; the most romantic and sweet razor-blade swallowing act ever performed. Yes, it sounds like a contradiction – a nice freak show – but as I wrote in a review last year, Dangerboy’s menacing exterior belies an angelic performance persona, while Ivy’s angelic costumes are.. well, actually quite fitting for her graceful ballerina movements.
ACA argued that Channel 7 should never have shown the magical talents of Dangerboy swallowing razorblades, for fear that children might attempt to replicate them. They showed how seriously they took this proposition themselves by playing footage of other danger acts, including noted busker Shawn Bridges (a.k.a. Bike Boy) balancing on a bike atop a fence. (Presumably, Channel 9 think children have free access to razorblades, but not to bicycles and fences.) All this after Bike Boy had patiently explained to camera how ridiculous the whole proposition was.
The true reason for Channel 9′s choice of Dangerboy and Ivy (and the depths of ACA’s hypocrisy) became clear as they continuously looped the key parts of the act. Dangerboy and Ivy have an attention-grabbing and spectacular act, and Channel 9 didn’t want their competitor to be the only one bringing the act to their audiences.
Which brings me neatly to the point of this article: that Channel 9 don’t have exclusive access to Dangerboy and Ivy; the Sydney Fringe is also offering access through a new season of the Alchemical Cabaret, at the Sidetrack Theatre.
Joined once again by Chris Baird and David Baker, the Alchemical Cabaret offers a mix of freaky stunts, beautiful imagery, magic, juggling and humour. Despite the panicked warnings, this show is perfectly suitable for both teens and adults who like their entertainment to be both fun and with a little bit of edge.
“We’ve got some new routines this year, and some of the routines have been revamped and taken further than before.” says Dangerboy. “At least two of our routines are world firsts. We’ve really been pushing the boundaries.”
Each time I see them, their acts have been more elaborate and more polished. After a solid and enjoyable performance last year, I look forward to seeing where they could be taking it this year. This is definitely a show to check out.
Caution: This review was written by a trained professional. Do not attempt this at home – and certainly not from television studios.
Dangerboy and Ivy’s less-controversial bed-of-nails act for Australia’s Got Talent
A Current Affair’s beat-up.
Thursday 29th September
Friday 30th September
Saturday 1st October
*The views expressed within the blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Sydney Fringe