Trompe L’Oeil
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: The Other Palace Studio
Cast: Emer Dineen, Alex Wadham, Craig Bartley, Dominic Booth, Olivia Saunders, Sarah Louise Hughes, William Elijah Lewis and Yasmin Sharp

Trompe L’Oeil blends cabaret, queer theatre, and circus with the trompe l’oeil illusionary art form, all the while pushing lyrical structure in what seem impossible directions – songs that double as anagrams, acrostics or lipograms exemplify an unprecedented linguistic dexterity. This production which is playing a limited run at The Other Palace Studio is directed and choreographed by Blair Anderson and produced by Funky Tickle Productions. With book music, and lyrics by Henry Parkman Biggs.

Having not seen a show in The Other Palace Studio since Millennials, I was intrigued to see what the space was going to look like for this illusion-based show. The studio space is not very big but I was impressed with how it looked. A simplistic stage with a pink hue and projector that looked like a television. Simplistic and effective. After all, the illusion is how the story is told.

Having never seen this type of theatre I wasn’t sure I could follow what was going on but I pieced things together and thought this was an interesting way to tell a story. What was that story you ask? A love story in the mist of Donald Trump’s presidential era.

This cast is phenomenal and fun! A highlight for me was Alex Wadham. From his impeccable vocals to the way he portrayed Rip, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. The chemistry between him and, Dominic Booth, who played Demi was authentic and natural. This made the storyline of Rip and Demi captivating. Another highlight performance for me was Sarah Louise Hughes as the Imitator. She gave me Cabaret Emcee vibes; what a performance!

Whilst the vocals and performance were ones to look out for, I did find that the pacing was a bit all over the place. I also found myself at certain points getting bored. The same with the jokes, it felt as though some didn’t hit as they should have done, whilst others did have the audience laughing.

Speaking of audience, the participation was great! The actors played off the audience banter so well, which gave it that cabaret aspect, as advertised. All in all; wonderful! Emer Dineen’s Trump was on point, even if the infamous Trump accent slipped here and there, they really captured the essence of the former American businessman turned President. Bravo!

This show reminds us that as a society, we are better together.

Only around until the 15th October 2023, get your tickets and witness this surreal show for yourself! Book tickets here.

Written by Dani Gabrielle (she/they)

**photo credit to Danny Kaan and Dani Gabrielle**

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