Melbourne Fringe Review: “Strongman, Daredevil, Idiot”
Back in the main theatre of Speakeasy HQ in central Melbourne, I had been waiting all week with anticipation to see “Strongman, Daredevil, Idiot” performed by Mad Vlad Bolshoi and Zlobnyy “Babushka” Kartofel Let me make an admission here: this show is NOT for the faint hearted! Get ready to strap yourselves in for a wild ride for this show, for it has surprises, danger and drama in each moment.
Right from the moment the show starts, the audience becomes aware that they’re now on a rollercoaster hurtling along at breakneck speed with Mad Vlad and Babushka at the controls. Mad Vlad himself wastes no time smashing things and flirting with danger in every move. The show features some strongman stunts (like metal bending) but there are segments of the show that stray into daredevil territory, and there was one particular stunt that made me want to shake Mad Vlad and yell “ARE YOU INSANE?!!” at him. Trust me – when you see the show, you’ll know what I’m referring to. I seriously don’t know how he does it! This show is gripping, will have you perched on the edge of your seat and will make your pulse race. I’m sure I had hypertension / an elevated heart rate during the entire show! At times, things got a bit thrilling and I wasn’t sure if I needed to look away. When I did see the expressions on the faces of other audience members, there was a mix of shocked expressions, plus plenty of wincing and grimacing. I get the feeling that many people rarely get the opportunity to watch strongmen and daredevils.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition with this show as Babushka provides comedy relief (via her chirpy accordion and penchant for confetti) especially when Mad Vlad is completing a crazy or extra dangerous task. Babushka is also a master of the ‘hard stare’ which prompted many giggles from the audience. Seems they don’t smile too much where Mad Vlad and Babushka come from, however they certainly provided a few smiles and giggles for their audience. Mad Vlad himself is also engaging with the audience – many of us had the chance to make sure / feel / test that the concrete pavers / pieces of metal and wood etc used during his act were real (and they were) which added to the impressive nature of the show.
Mad Vlad and Babushka expend a lot of energy in their show, but it is all worthwhile for an audience that madly screams, cheers and shouts for them as they leave the stage at the end of a thrilling, safety defying and crazy show. A wild rollercoaster ride that I enjoyed very much and that I’m so glad I took.
VERDICT: “Strongman, Daredevil, Idiot” doesn’t just tick all those boxes, it blows them away and smashes them! Make no mistake about this show: it is thrilling and is dangerous, but there’s fun to be had when you shake off the trappings of a mundane life and flirt with danger. IS VLAD. IS STRONG. IS MAD.
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