It was a dark cool night as I stepped into the Alwun House. I had never been there before and was greeted by an enormous black spider. I was nervous to say the least, for tonight I was entering into the world of the magical, mysterious, and dangerous Menagerie. OK, to say that it was dangerous was a little much, after all it’s only dancing, right?
The Mengarie, held on Friday October 24th was a smorgasbord of mythical creatures ascending the stage. Hosted by Vjara Productions and featuring dancers from troupes such as Dirigible Doumbek, and Osiris, it was a fun display of dancing monsters. The theme of the night was a Victorian display hosted by a globe trotting gentleman who hunts to find mythical creatures everywhere he goes. Event Director, Laura Wirth, said “It started out as a Halloween show, which I’ve wanted to do for…at least five years. But I’m also a huge fan of mythology and legends and supernatural creatures. Somehow the two blended together and became this show. There was also a lot of inspiration from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival from “The Last Unicorn”. Part sideshow, part curio, this event certainly delivered on the mythological.
Hosted by Adrian Lock ( Brian Sweis), who wove a tale of trekking the globe to find these creatures, the show started out with a bang. Katja Amar, kicked things off with her rendition of an Irish Banshee. Unfortunately my poor photographer was having technical difficulties with his camera and by the time he got them fixed, her dance was over, (Sorry Katja!) Fortunately her performance was stunning, as she drew the audience in with her tribal style.
The Raven and her Victim
The second act was Mia Donna and Alexa performing a puppet dance called “The Raven.” Mia Donna was plucked from the audience by the Host and had a bit of fun before realizing she was under the Raven’s command. I have to say, I am not a fan of Isis wings simply because they are a prop that distract from the technique of the dancer. Alexa was an exception: She used the wings in way to focus the attention on the isolated parts of her body AND used them to hide the other dancer effectively as she “transformed.” Simply put, she used the Isis wings beautifully.
The Victim has been transformed
After the Raven, came my favorite act of the night. Diosa came out draped in a snake as the Naga, a two faced creature who was mysterious and creepy. Just look at the first of the two faces:
The Naga and Her snake
She started out with her back turned to the audience and then switched in the middle. Coupled with her music and the slythering of her snake, the Naga was absolutely mezmorizing. I am still weirded out by snakes, but I am getting more comfortable seeing them in shows. The snake was the least of my concern as the two white faces created a haunting dance.
To break things up a bit, the next act up was the Heathen. Played by La Goosie, the Heathen was a fun and vulgar creature that made me smile. I didn’t get a lot of good pictures of her, she was all over the stage, and midway through, became nearly topless. The Heathen was out of control, but what do you expect from such a beast?
The Heathen, doing its thing.
As the Heathen was escorted off the stage, a more sinister group came on. The Vampire Coven, as performed by Dirigible Doubmek, were a seductive, choreographed group that almost claimed another victim. As they performed, a young man from the audience became overpowered with their allure and they beckoned him on stage. It was a fun way to end their masterfully done routine.
The Vampire Coven
The Vampires and their unsuspecting Victim
After the Vampires came the Fae with her Faery ring. Another stunning performance, this time by Lavender Moon, was well crafted and dare I say, magical. Lavender came out with an illumnated hula hoop and rocked it out. Just look at some of the stunning pictures we were able to capture.
The Fae readies her Faery Ring
Ooooooooh, so pretty.
Her grace and agility with the hoop was intoxicating to watch and just the whimiscal breath of air the audience needed. During her performance, two Devilish characters made their way through the crowd and as the Fae exited, they took center stage. Performed by Diosa, Katara, and Niffer, a beautiful Angel warded off the demons just before they could strike.
Unfortunately for the Angel, the Two Demons were too much and over powered the Angel right before the intermission.
Angel vs Demons, who will win?
After a quick stretch and a drink refresher we were thrown back into the realm of the mystical with the Hydra performance. Osiris Dance played with fire, and left the audience captivated. While one spun veils in the back, the front dancer used these long fire holders ( fire fingers!) to illuminate her movements. When she would move her hand in front of her face, the Hydra masked looked eerie.
The Hydra in full flame
After the stage cooled down, one of the best performances of the night was up. Adrian C. Miramontes did a pop and lock as the centuries old Mummy. His dance was hilarious and fun, and a nice reprive. His costume was on point and I was surprised at how agile he was wrapped up in all of those bandages. At any rate his performance me made smile and was just plain fun to watch.
The Mummy busts a move
After the Mummy came the seductive Siren with fan veils. Samantha, from The Inner Dancer, fluttered and twirled, using the fan veils to lure the audience in.
The Siren with her deadly veils
After the Siren was the Mystic, a gentle young soul with a dark secret. During her performance, the Mystic “transformed” into a wild beast. Performed by Lady Purple ( who also performed as the Heathen) the performance wove a sad tale of a young girl forced to transform into a terrible beast.
The Mystic and her Seeing Eye
It was a beautiful dance and her costume change was done very well. Of course once she changed, the wolf didn’t seem to want to get off the stage, so the stage hand had to come lead her off. After that came the deadliest act of the night. The Reaper.
A dark, brooding character, the Reaper, played by Katara Fox, took the stage and almost took a life. Near the end of her routine, the Reaper came out into the audience to claim a soul but was barely stopped by the host in the nick of time. Her performance sent chills through the audience and her minimal attire was simply stunning.
Death comes for all…
The show left on a high note however, as two zombies and friends came out and performed to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Some of the mythical creatures came out and danced with the Zombies as soon the stage was overrun with them. The host tried to wrangle them back to their cages but was quickly outnumbered and overpowered. As the cast performed their curtain call, the host lay dead at their feet. A fitting way to end the show.
Zombies & Friends
The Host gets eaten alive.
The Menagerie was a fun filled night full of mystery and wonder. I couldn’t help but get into the Halloween spirit while I was there and the venue was perfect. The Alwun House was decked out with giant spiders and creepy cobwebs, a perfect setting for these mythical creatures. Laura Wirth, one of the Event Directors said ” This was the first time we have put up a second show in one year, but it may not be the last. Plans are already in motion for the next venture, which will once again be a themed spectacle of theatrical performance art.”
The check out all of the pictures from the show, Like us on Facebook and check out the Menagerie Album. If you are one of the performers and would like the original photos, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe and Happy Halloween to you all!