Performance Review: Into the Mouth of the Wolf

I came in unfamiliar with Circus Automatic.

Jamie DeWolf and Joyce Lee are the alternating storytellers. Although I’m a longtime fan of DeWolf, this happened to be Lee’s day and I’m glad that it was.

The first two performances definitely had the macabre sensibility that I had assumed from the title. Eka Boo Button seemed to rise from the grave to the gallows in what one might call an elegant dance of death. She set what I thought would be the mood very nicely. Next was Inka Siefker and Katie Scarlett in a contortion duet titled “From Behind Our Teeth.” Advertised on the flyers, this was a work of art from top to bottom. It was also the first sign that these performers are all functioning on some peak human levels.

The rest of the show was much more eclectic with the tone and style of the proceeding performances varying drastically. One was an upbeat, Chaplinesque balancing act by Richard Maguire that was both funny and incredible. Another was Katie Scarlett again with a hypnotic feat of aerialism that went from somber to stunning. Near the end of the intermission, Orion Griffiths charmed the pants off the audience and, hilariously, himself.

But every display of contortion, acrobatics and cabaret was done with such panache, I didn’t even care that I occasionally lost sight of the narrative thread. Fortunately Joyce Lee offered a sort of grounding punctuation in between. Her spoken word/anecdotes juxtaposed the action with doses of reality that were whimsical, inspiring and searing.

Into the Mouth of the Wolf engages you with both truth and fantasy. The result is a jaw-dropping show that will make you clap till your hands hurt. Bring friends. Bring a date. See it while you can.

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