14 March 2010

Review: Tooth and Nail

Tooth and Nail
The Candy Butchers
12 March 2010
La Mama

The next time I think there’s no room in my brain for a spectacular thought, I’m going to remember that The Candy Butchers found room in La Mama for a double trapeze and a tissue routine.

Azaria Universe and Jess Love were a fingernail’s length away from bruises, but their aerial work is still as awesome as any flown in big tops.

In Tooth and Nail, The Candy Butchers join Finucane and Smith’s delectable Salon de Dance and the droolable Feast of Argentina Gina Catalina to make a March visit to La Mama even more scrumptious, outrageous and unnerving.

The Candy Butchers recreate old-time circus, but never forget that circuses were once the only place that freaks could feel at home. This is circus for grown ups with the kind of clowning that make us understand why some youngsters are terrified of clowns.

While not as bloody as Love’s recent The Little One Said (soon at Melbourne's Comedy Festival), Tooth and Nail continues the Butcher’s slightly macabre look at what goes wrong in circus.

Azaria and Jess bicker over routines that Azaria can’t get right, but Azaria gets a pair of Jess’s tights for her collection and Jess unwittingly exposes herself every time she walks through a door. And Derek Ives... I’m not sure what Derek was up to, but he supplied title’s tooth gag (and rigged the room so the girls could fly).

For all its absurd weirdness, acrobatic wonderfulness and satirical hilarity, Tooth and Nail could do with an extra hammer bang to fix the wobbly narrative. The final scenes are gorgeous because they are so oddly disconnected from the rest of the show, but the nature of an audience is to try to make connections with what has gone before and look for story patterns that may or may not exist.

But narrative consistency is about as important as the pips in a toffee apple. Tooth and Nail is nostalgic, juicy and a perfect combination of tooth-rotting bad and keep-the-doctor-away good. So leave any expectations at home and take a jaw breaking bite.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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