Review: Debauched Late Show (Fringe)

Words by Jialun Qi

On Dit Magazine
3 min readFeb 28, 2021

Fun for the whole family!

Venue: Wonderland Spiegeltent Festival Hub

Genre: Circus / Burlesque

Length: 60 minutes

I’m not going to lie: I went into this expecting to see an egregious amount of breasts, pecks, and butts, and while I was certainly bamboozled by all manner of cheeks, it was the quality of the performance that blew me away.

You are going to be impressed by the production values. The lighting, the stage, the boppin’ remixes, and the omnipotent stagehand were so good that you’ll find yourself worrying if they are getting paid enough. For a weekend Fringe night-out, the presentation was top-tier.

The slew of acrobatics and circus acts were not exactly mind-blowing — if you’ve been to any old circus you’ve seen them before — but they were immersive.

In a Baz Luhrmann film, the period setting is sometimes undercut with modern dialogue; most times it works, but one imperfect line can break your suspended disbelief and make you think, “Why did that guy do or say that? That was so weird.” It can ruin the entire experience.

This show was the opposite of a Baz Luhrmann film. The set, the acts, the music, the 10 / 10 lighting, the MC, were all meticulously prepared, yet felt so spontaneous — hallmarks of a professional crew and an experienced showrunner. Never once did I think, “Why did they have that guy in there?” or “Wow, they picked worst music possible,” or “Why are they dressed like that? It makes no sense.”

It was so thematically cohesive and so well-run, I feel like they could have pushed it further — with more debauchery, maybe, or riskier routines. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but as cheeky as this show was, there were almost not enough cheeks.

I get it though. Since this show is running throughout the Fringe, you would want something consistently 9 / 10 rather than risk your neck reaching for that 10 / 10. After all, the punter wants to know that they will get 110% of their money’s worth. The show is called Debauched, and simply put, it is what it says on the tin.

(Mild spoilers ahead)

I saw a guy pulling a balloon through his nose while telling dirty jokes, and it was funnier than any stand-up act I have seen this year. I don’t know what that says about the current state of stand-up comedy, or my sense of humour, but I enjoyed it, a lot.

There were some fantastic displays of core strength, which made me want to go to the gym more. The circus acts were done by pros who could easily pull off routines that are ten times harder.

There was a lot of drag. I did not anticipate such a density of drag, but it was — as Emperor Palpatine once said — a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.

You could really say the same thing about the whole show: a surprisingly good, debaucherous time, and definitely worth the price of admission.

The Debauched Late Show is playing at the Wonderland Spiegeltent Festival Hub until the 20th of March. Book tickets through FringeTix.



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