Performance review: Tender, the Vault, Sydney Fringe Festival

This circus cabaret hybrid explores a disassembling of gender constructs in its fluid meld of bodies.
Tender. A tangle of naked bodies on a steel cube against a black background.

As a self-proclaimed “circus cabaret show”, Tender presented by Cirque X quickly plays around with this definition and also challenges any rigid categories in this absolutely captivating display.

In this production, relationships are played out between aerial artists and riggers, acrobats and set designers, and singers and performers, all blended together in their exploration of various aspects of what it means to be tender.

Individual and duo routines flow into a melange of erotic performances that are fluid and natural in a celebration that spans intimacy, domination and sexuality.

The evening opens with the audience looking at an intriguing cold tubular steel cube sitting alone on the stage in the round of the Vault. It is quickly adorned with the entire cast of artists and then transforms into one of the many apparatuses used to launch the artists into, onto and over each other as they dramatically defy gravity and heat up the evening.

All the performers wrap and unwrap themselves in a stunning rainbow array of costumes. With the lighting and original lush music exquisitely performed by Sydney’s bicon queen, Penelope, it all comes together to tease your senses.

In describing the origins of the production, co-producer Missy (Catherine Wait) says, ‘Tender is a love child between our cast. Something that we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into to deliver a unique perspective of love, desire and vulnerability through a queer gaze.’

Read: Performance reviews: Best of the Fest and Me, My Cult & I, Sydney Fringe Festival

Stunningly athletic and awe-inspiring performances by this circus ensemble will leave you wanting more. Cirque X sets out to take the audience on a ‘journey through the many aspects of tender’ and they definitely achieve this and manage to extend the possibilities of circus cabaret show at the same time.

Be sure to be touched by Tender.  

Sydney Fringe Festival
The Vault at the Spiegeltent Festival Garden, The Entertainment Quarter
Presented by Cirque X, co-produced by Missy and J Twist featuring artists Chris Barnett, Mitch Wnek, Penelop and Tynga

Tickets: $34 – $39

Tender will be performed until 8 October 2023.

G has long been a connoisseur of the arts in all colours and flavours of expression. G has a strong admiration for the brilliance and commitment required to produce and showcase art.