A great way to see the Fringe Festival on a budget is to have some patience and book your tickets between 12 and 3pm on the same day of the show, when you can get them for half the price. This is how I ended up at Luminous. Luminous is what you get when a body paint artist mixes with jugglers and acrobats.
Instead of costumes, Luminous uses glow in the dark paint on the performers’ bodies. Jessica Watson Miller is the artist behind all these creations and also director of the show. The venue was relatively dark, lit by black lights. Think about this when you’re planning on wearing your new white dress. Before the show started I looked around to see many teeth glowing green-yellow in the dark.
Then a man entered the stage in his boxer shorts. He was playing with a glowing ball in his hands. An artist dressed in black painted him while he was moving around the stage, showing more and more of his body. His hands were glowing orange and at times it seemed like the ball was floating in mid-air. His moves were like a gracious robot. Then his face was revealed and showed a beautiful painting. It is fun to see how facial expressions look when only certain parts of the face are visible.
The next performer had already been painted. She was dressed like an insect, moving across the stage accordingly and showing off some acrobatic moves. With her, we entered a magical world of bright flowers and butterflies. The body art was much more complicated this time, since it was all done before the show had started.
Another act played a video game, with painted blocks on the performer’s body and high-pitched electronic sounds to illustrate the scene. There was humor in the act as well as juggling that looked awesome in the black lights. The acts definitely looked more spectacular because they were lit up. Moving sticks transformed into images and things appeared out of nowhere.
Unfortunately this show was sold out. Upon entering the small tent everybody was urged to ‘make friends with their neighbours’ and sit ‘bums touching’. This meant that throughout the show I was squeezing my thighs together to try to take up less space. My fitness instructors will be proud. It took a lot of the comfort away and takes attention away from the show though.
Since the venue was a small tent, the stage was on ground level and the artists were very close to the audience. I saw the lady in the front ducking away from time to time when moving diabolo’s came a bit too close for her liking. For me it meant I didn’t see one end of the stage, which was a shame. Also, it wasn’t quite dark enough and you could see things on stage you weren’t supposed to see. I guess the group had to improvise on this small Fringe stage.
All in all it was a refreshing experience. The acts used simple objects many people have tried in their life, like rings, balls, hoops and diabolo’s. Yet nobody has reached the skill level these guys reached. The glow in the dark atmosphere with its bright colors, transported you to a different, futuristic looking world, or maybe like you were high on some sweet drug. The show is unique and unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
Get a taste and check out this video: