Brighton Fringe Review: Hitch, Spiegeltent

Hitch[author-post-rating] (5/5 Stars)

I had such a good time at the Spiegeltent last night. It’s a phrase that, if you are a Brighton resident or a Fringe goer, you have probably heard a few times already this May. There is a great range of theatre, circus and cabaret set under bohemian canvas, and situated a stone’s throw from the beach and some of the best pubs and clubs the city has to offer. Hitch is probably one of the best examples of the delights the Spiegeltent has in store. Hitch is a circus, theatre and cabaret show based on the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The company, Mary Bijou Cabaret, features performers from No Fit State and National Theatre Wales, all of which bring a multitude of skills to the table.

The show itself comprises live music, aerial circus, Chinese pole, acrobalance, slackline and some very special dance performances. The piece opens with a scene inspired by Hitchcock’s 1963 film, The Birds. A performer frantically climbs, spins around and drops from a Chinese pole whilst attempting to expel a murder of crows. Next we’re treated to Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly performing a kind of bawdy acrobalance on a wheelchair. We saw a magnificent aerial rope performance inspired by the 1969 film Topaz; according to an audience member the film itself was “crap”, I’m pleased to report that the elevated homage was anything but.

What Hitch very adeptly does is balance side splitting hilarity with moments of utter artistry. The male members of the company performed a hip thrusting, high kicking dance as ‘The Hitchcock Blondes’, a moment that had most, if not all, of the audience rolling in the aisles. My favourite comedic moment was the Alfred Hitchcock strip tease, performed by petit female member of the cast dressed in a fat suit, complete with dangly private parts. The very same performer had only moments before enthralled the audience with a glorious solo vocal performance, her voice cascading over a sinister murder scene.

Of course, this being inspired by Hitchcock’s most well known films, there had to be a reference to that shower scene. Marion Crane and Norman Bates were presented to us in what I can only describe as a sheet of plastic folded over and hung from the ceiling. To me it most resembled a flat aerial net or silk hammock; much of the repertoire was work I have seen done on those pieces of equipment. However, because of the clinginess, tension and transparency of the material the performers were able to be really creative with their routine. There were handstands and moments of doubles acrobalance with faces contorted and pressed against the plastic, dressed in lashings of claret.

Hitch really is one of the best cabaret performances I have seen in a long time: slick, inventive, endearing and set to magnificently original, live music. An entertaining evening to say the least.

Hitch played as part of the Brighton Fringe.

Hannah Jarman

Hannah Jarman is a theatre and circus enthusiast who currently works for BandBazi, a mutli-arts organisation speciliasing in aerial theatre. After studying Performing Arts at the Hub Theatre School, Cornwall, Hannah worked and volunteered with several theatre companies and arts organisations including Pivot Theatre Company, Bedlam Youth Theatre and Cornwall Scrapstore. A desire to study International Relations and Development Studies at the University of Sussex brought her to the South East. Hannah has been involved with BandBazi's work since January 2008 and is now General Manager and Director of the company's Youth Circus Theatre group. She also dabbles in producing Fringe and touring theatre work and has worked with Witness Theatre and Root Experience as a Creative Producer