Circus Hub, Underbelly, Edinburgh
The clue is in the name. The Raunch is an unabashed celebration of all things physical – an uneasy mixture of old-fashioned circus skills, burlesque dancing and hapless clowning. Housed in the gorgeous circus hub on Edinburgh’s Meadows and lavishly costumed and presented, there’s evidently been a lot of time and money spent getting this ready for the public. I have to say that it’s a show that isn’t really aimed at people like us (for us, a strong narrative thread is always key) but there’s no doubting the skill and talent of the performers, who give it their all.
The event is tricked out in a cartoonish cowboy style – there are lots of Stetsons, pistols and whips on display, all accompanied by energetic hoe-downs to pounding western music. I find myself alternately thrilled by the balancing and fire-eating elements and vaguely embarrassed by all the frantic tassel-twirling and twerking that’s going on. Those hoping for some kind of cogent storyline will inevitably be disappointed. There is a story thread (a villainous woman attempting to pass off urine as gold dust) but it’s basically hokum, an excuse to bring out the next act. You want to see tap dancing knife throwers? You got it! And there’s a fabulous trapeze act in there – but was it really necessary to have a laser light shooting out of her bum?
The good thing about a fast paced show like this is that if you aren’t really enjoying a particular element it’ll soon be gone and replaced by something completely different – and it’s evident that the crowd packed into tonight’s performance are loving every minute, whooping and applauding fit to raise the roof. So, if the this kind of thing that floats your boat – and I’m willing to bet that there are plenty of festival goers who enjoy a circus – then head down to The Meadows and grab a seat.