As Underbelly at George Square grows arms and legs, an expansion into the Meadows was inevitable. Still within walking distance of the major players, Underbelly Circus Hub is home to this year’s The Raunch. Produced by Zero Central’s founder and performer Empress Stah, The Raunch previously held court last year at London Wonderground, having been commissioned by Underbelly Productions. Billed as an electric wild west circus cabaret, it veers more into burlesque and music hall, with sketches that range from the daring to the trivial.
Billed as an electric wild west circus cabaret, it veers more into burlesque and music hall, with sketches that range from the daring to the trivial
The show starts with Mr Teds as the host, costumed in a seeming homage to Motorhead frontman Lemmy. He links the acts together and from there on in we get various degrees of skills to amuse and astonish. Tattooed twin beauties My Bad Sister rap, tap dance, knife throw and duel on their ukuleles. German performance model Missa Blue swallows a sword then later eats fire, Fancy Chance apparently hangs herself by a noose while attached by her hair for some nifty aerial gymnastics. Empress Stah performs acrobatics high above the stage on a hexagon, lit from behind with a surprisingly cheeky laser lightshow. Mr Teds then sings Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, before turning it into a duet with a member of the audience. The spectacle is aided by a full ensemble on hoverboards and in dazzling fluorescent trimmed outfits, like the fabulous Starlight Express revival noone thought would happen.
The star of the show is undoubtedly Jair Ramirez, who faultlessly demonstrates his skill, strength and flexibility on two suspended ropes revolving above the stage. At one point he’s held just by his ankles in horizontal splits, defying the conventional logic of cowboy denim. The Raunch captures a certain star quality; though inconsistent in its skill and focus, the show is nonetheless decently entertaining.