Trash City, Roundhouse, London

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The Independent Culture

The strongest element is the set design by Block9; it's a naturalistic street that looks as if it's been hit by an earthquake. Through broken walls, you can see mangled interiors, including a wrecked bathroom. The street is still open for business, with flashing neon signs, traffic lights and trashed cars.

The routines make no real use of this set, even for atmosphere. Instead, the cast scamper about being tutu-clad vampires. Cabaret singer Le Gateau Chocolat booms through Queen numbers, dressed in a white tulle puffball and glittery lipstick. He's surrounded by a fright-wigged corps, who point and coo and simulate sex.

Most of these performances lack swagger. Le Gateau Chocolat and singer/aerialist Fanny Chance are short on finesse, but at least they have strong personalities. The vampires pretend to be dangerous, biting at each other with big, unfocused gestures.

In all this posing, there's a surprising lack of circus excitement. The vampires descend on bungee cords and trapezes. In the air, they do little more than swoop about, pointing at the audience.

On the cabaret side, Le Gateau Chocolat and Fanny Chance swipe and argue between songs. Their quarrel has a few edged insults, and a good moment when she takes one of his jibes as a serious sexual proposition.

Most of the show is posing and lip-synching, though. At least the cheesiness of the finale seems to be deliberate. Le Gateau Chocolat squeezes his large form into a purple catsuit to sing Prince's "Purple Rain". The rest of the cast evoke poodle-haired heavy metal, complete with guitars firing sparks and light-up codpieces. Trash City wants to be wild, but at heart it's a weak 1980s tribute act.

Circusfest continues until 16 May (0844 482 8008)

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