WonderWombs | The Dust Palace (NZ)

Hot off the press, this brand new show by Aotearoa circus company The Dust Palace is a sparkling, juicy, feminist manifesto that laughs and mocks and brawls and riots all the way to the finish line. The WonderWombs is super high-energy show that smashes circus and neo-burlesque headfirst into a wild cacophony of vibrant performances. It’s a mesmerising feast for the eyes with a cohort of women who completely own the stage for the whole delicious hour.

This is top quality contemporary neo-burlesque. Full of provocations that subvert stereotypes of ‘woman’, it is righteously sex-positive and utterly refreshing for it. Yeah these girls are hot, but it’s never about who is watching, it’s all about how good it feels within. There is plenty of gratuitous skin but it is all 100% owned and empowered. These women are pursuing their own pleasure and they dance for no man….or woman.

The show balances recurrent themes of the manifestation of desire and destroying the patriarchy. Decadent treats are pawed with and examined from all sides. Femininity in all its grace, strength, messiness and power are celebrated throughout. It’s glorious to see the troupe lift, balance, support and base each other through acts many mainstream companies only reserve for men. It’s heaps of fun too, mocking health gurus, fitspo culture & false female friendships. Balance this with a healthy dose of surrealness, gorgeous dance and movement and you’ve got yourself a must-see show.

There is some hefty food for thought interspersed between the shiny suits and speccy tricks too. I particularly liked the scene where the performers are asked to line up in order of small to large ears, and lactose intolerance; it really made the point of the ludicrousness of being judged on the size of other body parts.

Another striking scene was an incredible dance under deep red light, whilst a mash-up of poetry was recited. I picked out a personal favourite Velveteen Rabbit quote in the midst, musing on the length of time it takes to become real.

Top quality aerial performances, spectacular costumes, creative choreo and a banging soundtrack are a lethal combo, and would be right at home in a festival Spiegletent, albeit one with a giant stage! It’s my strong suspicion that this is set to entertain audiences at Fringes all over the world in the coming seasons.

Nadia Jade and Ads J saw The WonderWombs at Brisbane Powerhouse on Friday November 30 2018.


Producer | Eve Gordon

Director | Jess Holey Bates

Performers and devisors | Jess Holey Bates, Eve Gordon, Rochelle Mangan, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Bethany St John, Jaine Mieka, Ariel Cronin

Lighting Design | Michael Craven

Costumes – Eve Gordon and Jaine Mieka

Images | Tashy H’ng

Leave a Reply