Live Review – Absinthe by Spiegelworld


Spiegelworld’s award-winning, smash-hit Las Vegas show Absinthe is currently touring Australia and has finally arrived in Sydney. It’s being performed under a beautiful Spiegeltent in Hyde Park, and we were there for the opening night. Having attended the jaw-dropping Limbo at the Sydney Festival earlier this year, we were keen to see how this compared.

The event is hosted by ‘The Gazillionaire’, a kind of compere/ringleader chap who claims to hail from Armenia and to be “the richest man in Eastern Europe.” The first thing to note is that this guy knows how to swear. If you are offended by bad language, then this is not the fucking show for you. Similarly, if you aren’t keen on… let’s say… edgy jokes relating to sexuality and race, then beware.

If, however, you like seeing performers demonstrating stunning achievements in strength, balance and movement, then you are in for a treat.

absinthe sydneyFirst up was the Chair Stacker, Oleksandr “Sacha” Volohdin from the Ukraine who, you’ve guessed it, stacked chairs to the roof and then balanced upon them. A solid start. Next, Australia’s own Karla Tonkich (pictured) sang, stripped and – later – did clever things with a massive balloon. After this, Banquine (Lost Souls) displayed amazing acts of balance and poise, as four Ukrainians created human pyramids and threw each other into the air, achieving prefect landings every time. Later, Duo Straps (Jacob Oberman & Maika Isogawa – USA) offered sweet and elegant aerial ballet.

Abby Bobbins proved a funny sidekick to The Gazillionaire, with her weird ramblings about unicorns and penises. After which, Duo Adagio (looking suspiciously like Bobbins and The Gazillionaire), performed a frankly heart-melting fusion of acrobatics and modern dance.

The first big highlight of the night came from Aliaksandr Yurkavets & Andrei Sizonenka, who swung from a large metal frame at amazing speeds, spinning and flipping from one side of the horizontal bars to the other, somehow managing to not kick each other in the face. Oh and they looked good with their shirts off too.

Talking of which, Germany’s Laura von Bongard and Luka Clayburn took to the aerial hoop in not many clothes. By the end of their acrobatic act, they were wearing even less.

And the shirtlessness continued, with the most impressive turn of the night. The chiselled Michal Nowosadko & Zbigniew Sobierajski from Poland (pictured top) showed beautiful strength, stamina and poise with truly astonishing hand-to-hand balancing. Anyone who has trouble doing the plank for more than ten seconds will understand just how remarkable their mesmerising act was.

Before The Frat Pack could impress us with a high wire conclusion, The Gazillionaire was back to compere a lapdance competition, in which he pulled three men and one woman from the audience and encouraged them to strip for her. It was hilarious.

Strangely, despite being ruder and nuder than Limbo, this show wasn’t quite as sexy, but it was still very enjoyable in its own right. If Limbo is the sophisticated and stylish member of the family, then Absinthe is the troublesome sex-obsessed teenage sibling that you kinda disapprove of but can’t help but be entertained by. Even though the gags step over the line of offensiveness from time to time, they don’t seem to be delivered with any malice and it’s all done with a sense of silliness and fun.

And anyway, when you strip away all the knob jokes and the politically incorrect humour, you’re left to gasp in amazement at some absolutely incredible feats of the human body in what is a devilishly enjoyable night out.

For information and tickets, visit or go to

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend.