Photos: Brig Bee

THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS is playing at the Seymour Centre.  The show is a genre bender for sure… part circus, part love story, part interpretive dance, part musical etc.  And that’s always interesting.  However, what sets this show above many others is the detail of its theatricality.  Written by Graham Coupland with Terence O’Connell as Artistic Director, it is stunningly conceived and faithful in every bodily expression, every costume, every choice of each performer.  Every face and body in character and faithful to the ethos.   I simply loved the cohesion of the world they create and really enjoyed giving myself over to it.

There are some formidable talents in the cast: Aurora Kurth, Anthony Craig, Simon P Storey, Mimi Le Noire, Richard Vegas, Circus Trick Tease, This Side Up, and Hannah Trott.  Yet the lack of showiness was perhaps my favourite aspect.  The tropes of circus were missing … no fail first to show how hard it is, no extreme posing to elicit applause and none of the padding that drove me away from a certain French-Canadian troupe.  Instead we have acts well integrated, with a narrative arc that is not skewed to fit the artist’s’ signature skills.

It’s all there and it’s all quality.  There is strongman, chairs, magic, balances, silks, contortion, high art tumbling, aerial hoop and so forth but there is so much more.  For example, the enchanting singing of well written and orchestrated, story rich songs (music by Platonic) which serve as respite from the pulsing, dynamic, propelling score and improvisational live electric guitar.  As a side note, it wasn’t too loud either … well moderated by an operator who still has his or her hearing!

There’s a sexy fan dance in Yvette Lee’s choreography sure to raise your temperature and a surly prestidigitator who is out to keep the lovers apart in true Gothic style.

The show is meticulously of a period.  It is Victorian Gothic with enough Grand Guignol to transport you to Pigalle.  The costumes are to die for.  Clockwork Butterfly has injected a steampunk influence to make corsets and long skirts and braces and cut-sleeve shirts easy to move in.  But no jarringly modern noisy Velcro or other anachronistic elements.  Feathers and lace and brocade in rich colours matched by the simple but effectively used lighting rig.

There is a huge range of colours available to lighting designers in modern fixtures but designer Jason Bovaird has keep a pure palette of moss green, Reckitts crown blue,  open white and bloodletting red. And they don’t need a whole heap of smoke either.  Very subtle use.

I really enjoyed THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS.  And I can highly recommend it.   I just can.

THE CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS is playing at the Seymour Centre as part of their Spring Tour until Saturday.  For more information visit:


  1. Your review is well written, however it makes me wonder whether you were watching the same show I was. I found that the acts did not blend with the story, more so it seemed as if they had the acts and had to attempt to come up with a story line to help intertwine the acts, but they failed remarkably as the audience were left wondering what on earth one had to do with the other.

    1. Hello, I think you may have missed the point somewhat.
      The story is an exploration of the light and dark that exists in our lives, in this case, told through the characters in a Vintage Circus fraternity.
      They step into the light to perform and entertain each night, even though they are drowning in the darkness of their own lives behind the scenes.
      Not each act was conceived to tell a story, rather the story is intertwined through the acts, culminating in the Clown destroying everything he loved…

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