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Burlesque and Cabaret Circus Fringe

Fringe 2022: Blunderland Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Nothing will prepare you for the trip that is Blunderland, an insane mix of circus, burlesque, drag and acrobatics that will transport you out of the mirrored circus tent on the meadows and into a world of unhinged madness for an hour.

Blunderland’s host Eric Schmalenberger is the perfect guide throughout the night, emerging out of the toilet dressed in nothing (and I mean nothing) but a giant latex condom. There is no room to be a prude at this circus.

The show kicks off with Tara Boom rolling out collapsed on the toilet from a night out, she pulls down her pants to urinate and fishes out a condom from her vagina. Next thing you know she’s flossing with it and pulling the condom out her nose. And the chaos has only just started.

Incredibly Blunderland is able to touch on sensitive topics, such as abortion and depression, in a way that normalizes and allows the audience to laugh without trivializing such complex emotions. The nudity in the show leaves one feeling almost empowered and more comfortable in one’s body, Blunderland leaves no space for shame.

Themme Fatale performance of Torn (or Corn) was a highlight of the evening. Their twist on the classic 2000s song was insanely ridiculous. Starting the scene in a gorgeous ruffled dress soon descended into madness as corn cob after corn cob was pulled from the dress. The dress came off which was hastily replaced with a massive corn outfit, a designated audience member showered them in popcorn even getting up on stage fully demonstrating the engagement of the audience. It was chaotic and ridiculous, exactly what is needed to take yourself out of your head for a bit.

Alongside Tara Boom’s pregnancy nightmare and Olivia Porter’s entertaining clumsiness, there are incredible acrobatic acts by Emily Chilvers and Leo Petland. Suspended from the ceiling, Chilvers performs an insane routine on silks captivating the audience as she spins above them. Leo Petland’s routine on the ropes is the final destination on the Blunderland trip. His insane acrobatic tricks seem to defy normal human limits, at one point appearing to grip onto the rope with his mouth a good couple of meters above the stage.

The absolute chaos and madness of the performances, described by Schmalenberger as a perfect introduction to LSD, leaves you never quite knowing what you will witness next. If you get the chance again, Blunderland is an experience you won’t regret.

Blunderland was showing at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows (The Beauty) August 27 at 21:55. Although it is no longer showing in Edinburgh, you can find their next performance online @blunderlandvariety.

Image credit: courtesy of Underbelly Press, provided to The Student as press material.