Review of Wunderkammer at the Gaiety.

Wunderkammer at The Gaiety. The Dublin Theatre Festival.

‘Wunderkammer’ is a box of ‘discovery’ in which wealthy explorers of the 18th and 19th century would place exotic trinkets that have no particular home. We probably all have our own ‘wanderkammer’, explorers or not: boxes, or tins, where we put our small treasures.

Wunderkammer is also the name of the most extraordinary and special show that kicked off the Dublin Theatre Festival this year at The Gaiety. It is aptly named.

It is a show performed by a troupe of gymnasts and dancers but that description doesn’t do justice to the skills, strength and showmanship of the performers. This is performance at its best. It is a magical, awe inspiring, and creative display of human achievement which will make you gasp. It defies belief. It is performed with humour, joy and passion. It is burlesque, and pastiche combined. It is touching. The movement, the grace, the energy is tremendous.

So what is it? The show is a display of human movement, skill, strength and tension. Male and females bodes are tossed, spun and swung around the stage space with such extraordinary breath taking grace and beauty. The performers dance and play with each other with engaging humour. They seem to defy gravity. They make it look easy. It is witty. There is flirtation, sexuality, sensuality, and games. Each scene has its own integrity. Each performer brings their own passion, but the trust and team work is incredible. Their bodies are beautiful. The costumes were great too…as was the way they were taken off and put back on.

Afterwards we went to the after show chat. The troupe are a mix of nationalities. All have trained since childhood. One of them described the show as being the culmination of their day…they put the moods of the day into the show so that it is constantly changing, and each one of them has to be aware of the tensions of the other.

One young boy asked what they ate. Lots of meat, broccoli, sprouts…green vegetables!

Walking home I wondered out loud that given the strength and suppleness of their bodies, what the sex must be like. My companion responded

“I think that’s what we all wanted to know and didn’t have the audacity to ask.”

I’m sure she was right. Go and see it.


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