In a festival program that is packed with circus acts and circuses, making an impact can be a difficult task. However, Scotch and Soda do it spectacularly by placing their tumbles and tricks in the hypnotic and theatrical world of a hilarious circus party.
“Party “party” is located within an overall design aesthetic that creates a sort of dusty, parallel world to the depression-era travel circuses, as well as Europe’s carnival past from the 19th century. Each visual element of the show is expertly assessed, starting with the brocade that covers the ragged military jackets worn by the band, through the wax, the tips of a mustache or two, and finally, the ruffle of the leotard of a female acrobat.
The filthy suitcases, the shoddy tabletops, and the beer bottles that are used in the trick are the subject of a production view that is able to comprehend the genuine audience attraction of tents made of velvet, such as that of the Cirque Ronaldo space. It’s nostalgic for the spit and sawdust wonders of old-fashioned proletarian entertainment.
Miracles are everywhere. An incredible quartet of acrobats walk across the lip of beer bottles and hang from a trapeze around the ankles of their backs as they ride bicycles with their backs to their front wheels, then tap dance on a table that is raised in rollerskates.
They’re not Scotch and Soda’s most skilled performers. The show’s distinctive nostalgia is created through the presence of the musicians, including the bass, horn, and drum players from The Crusty Suitcase Band. Their klezmer/beatnik/free-jazz/brass-band/bluegrass fusion is an affecting complement to the out-of-time visual aesthetic, and, in a show with few words and no narrative far beyond arrival, bawdy celebration and departure, the show’s emotional rhythms are driven by percussionist Ben Walsh. Ben Walsh’s drumming on tables, boxes, pieces of junk, and just about every other object is constant to keep all the physical acts on timing: seldom does the momentum of the narrative in a circus performed with this level of preciseness.
Scotch and Soda is a show for adults since there are glimpses of hanging appendages and a sexually competitive scene in particular, which embodies the Rififi sensuality that no child can ever hope to comprehend. For adults, however, it is a must-see because its world is so appealing and captivating that its only drawback is the bittersweet realization that for the audience as well as those performing, this stage event must eventually end.