QUESTIONS have been raised about whether a Fringe Festival show crossed the line with its depictions of self-harm.
Fringe is known for dishing up the unorthodox and unusual, but Danger Cabaret’s El Bizarro left audiences in a cold sweat last week, with one person fainting during the performance.
“We are a freak side show,” says MC and co-creative director Magnus Danger Magnus.
“We wanted to make the weirdest cabaret we could.”
The Voice saw the Perth-based show last week, and despite content warnings about “nudity”, “course language” and ”live body piercing”, we weren’t prepared for the horror that unfolded and had to make a very abrupt seat change from front to back row.
“There’s a lot of intense stuff,” agrees Magnus.
“Ordinarily people walk out and faint. I think we are doing our job right if people get shocked and crazied out.”
But audience member Jemma Goodliffe says El Bizarro crossed the line.
“Harming yourself with potentially long-term consequences is not what I’d consider an acceptable form of entertainment.
“The lack for forewarning of the self-harm content left me feeling quite disturbed.”
During the show performer Damien Kenny, self-described as a pin cushion virtuoso, repeatedly plunged needles into his arm and spattered a white sheet with blood before bringing the display to a climax by stabbing a small sword through both cheeks.
Circus Carnis also had the audience turning a collective shade of off-white, as the married couple shared their twisted fantasies, including the Princess of Pain dancing on broken glass, and Reverend Butcher lifting a metal drum with some very delicate parts of his flesh.
Magnus says the difference between self-harming and his cabaret is the intent.
“The intent of our acts is to entertain, whereas self harm has a very different intent.
“All of these people are professionals and mentally stable people and they know what they are doing.”
He says after the show there is an hour long procedure during which medical grade quarantining and wound attending takes place.
“We are very, very careful about safety.”
Creative director Jasmine Danks says the show was born in 2015 from a desire to “turn it up to eleven.”
“We knew all these weirdoes and friends of ours had some pretty crazy acts no one would let them do.”
Danks says almost every show sold out, and the season went well.
“We are one of the only shows where people came back maybe three or four times to watch the same show,” she says.
by MOLLY SCHMIDT