Trash Cabaret is an annual event that promises “to bring artists from different backgrounds and cultures together to create a unique circus experience you won’t see anywhere else in South Africa.” Last weekend it took place at Guga S’thebe in Langa. Although the choice of venue engendered some scepticism on social media, those who did brave seas relatively unknown to them were content.
Guga S’thebe – made from recycled materials, and boasting an outside theatre, a chill area as well as an inside concert hall – is stunning and perfect for Trash Cabaret. There was enough space for all the craziness to spread out in full.
The programme started outside with a burlesque performance and some hilarious actors who engaged with an enthusiastic audience. Then, in the main indoor concert hall, the typical Trash Cabaret performance unrolled. Acrobats, dancers, and unicyclists pranced across the stage to the house band’s staple tunes.
The highlight of the main show was undoubtedly the Unknown Dance Crew. Four masked guys put on a seamlessly choreographed performance to a mash-up of pop songs, from Destiny’s Child to Cyndi Lauper. Their bodies were totally in-synch, sliding across the stage as if they were marionettes attached to the beats of the music.
A new addition to the line-up was an acrobat in a gold, body-tight costume, who stunned the audience with his incredibly agile moves. And then, to everyone’s astonishment, a girl danced through the air, hanging from a rope attached only to her pony tail. While some left the room to escape the assumed pain, others couldn’t tear their eyes away. If it was painful, she certainly didn’t let it show. On the contrary, she soared through the room as if she was light as a feather.
Despite a band that appeared a little thinner than previous shows, and a lack of extra sets after the main show, the event was undoubtedly a success. Diverse performers and art forms united on one stage, and the organisers’ goal to create a platform where expression has no limits – even if physically agonising – was resoundingly met.
Trash Cabaret took place at Guga S’thebe, Langa on 26 November 2016