Apollo Musagete provides bodily fluids, sass and wit (3 stars)


Take Me Somewhere opener has some interesting, if messy, feminist interludes

Florentina Holzinger / CAMPO's goddesses prowl the stage in what is at once circus freak show, feminist sketch show and a riff on the Balanchine ballet Apollo. All six, plus BSL interpreter Yvonne Strain, perform with exposed flesh and tease the need for audience voyeurism with capricious and mischievous behaviour. Holzinger herself is a wonderful ringleader, smiling benignly while bashing nails into her nose. Balloons are swallowed and reappear from soft exit points; needles are inserted into faces and forearms, creating gentle rivulets of blood.

Such controlled anarchy is both blessing and curse: the ensemble are like Angela Carter's Sadeian Woman re-purposed by John Waters, en pointe and off colour, gleefully so, with piercings, scatology and great show-womanship that fix the male gaze with a steely stare. These tableaux vivants bite back. Yet at times it feels like a coy nod to club nights like Torture Garden – the bucking bronco feels too obvious – and a kitsch experiment (the cowboy skit is jarring within the context) with too many lengthy reiterations of ideas.

While the 'set 'em up to knock 'em down' live art structure provides a series of visually ravishing vignettes, and Nikola Knezevic's painterly set gets covered in all manner of mess, it's easy to see the show as both a flip of the bird to neoclassical dance aficionados, and an unabashed celebration of the female form and strength. The blood letting and acrobatics are strangely gorgeous, underpinned by a beautifully sung cover of Eraserhead's 'Lady in the Radiator Song' with oddly pitched, narcotic vocals. However, the length draws attention to its shortcomings.

In short, it doesn't always flow as easily or consistently as some of the bodily fluids, but there are moments of great beauty, sass and wit.

Take Me Somewhere runs until Mon 4 Jun.

Take Me Somewhere

The spirit of The Arches lives on in this festival of contemporary international performance.