The Rat Trap – Polytoxic and QTC Greenhouse Program

The Rat Trap - Polytoxic
The Rat Trap - Polytoxic

The naughtiest Circus is in Town!

Polytoxic Dance Theatre’s latest ‘mongrel mash-up of technicolour theatricality’, The Rat Trap has transformed QTC’s Bille Brown Studio into a Cabaret Tiki Bar where the audience in lock-down are at the mercy of the burlesque rat pack.

This colourfully chaotic production with it’s sexy, talented troupe, kitsch décor, surprise lighting effects, clever installation art and incredible soundtrack is a visual and aural feast for the eyes, ears, and soul, in which the audience obviously gorged on with great abandon.

The mash-up of styles will delight the adventurous theatre-goer with a mix of circus, gender-bending burlesque, physical theatre, vaudeville, voyeurism, carnival freak show, pop culture, and comedy, with pacific island influences.

It’s mystifying how director and co-creators Anni Davey, Fez Fan’anana, Lisa Fa’alafi, Natano Fa’anana, Leah Shelton, Mark Winmill, and dramaturg Kathryn Kelly, managed to harness this eclectic work, but to best explain it, I borrowed from the programme creatives who would have spent hours coming up with the most precise description:

The Rat Trap spins a melodramatic tale around five decadently seedy characters who drink, fight, seduce and despair in the bowels of a bawdy tiki bar – Programme Notes

As a bit of an academic, I like my theatre to have a deep meaning with a profoundly well-written script, even if it is cutting edge or experimental. The Rat Trap is not that – and I LOVED it! Pure escapism, this jaw dropping spectacular show elicited quite a few squeals of delight, surprise and shock. In fact, I think I pulled a neck muscle from having my jaw open so much.

I’ve also never contemplated buying a soundtrack CD before (apart from Bladerunner), but if Polytoxic bought out a performance soundtrack CD (with sound design by Busty Beatz and composition by Ben Walsh), I’d buy it. Its high impact is a driving force for the energy of the show.

A highlight of the show is the aerial fighting scene – so ingenious and fresh. Another clever piece of story telling were the Siamese twins Helena and Marlena whose costumes acted as the puppet-show backdrop for the story of how they were separated in a freak anchor accident at sea.

Now let’s talk about eye-candy. Whatever side of the fence you are on, you would jump it for Mark Winmill. With his talent, physical prowess, charisma, 6-pack, and drool factor, it’s not hard to imagine why he is the reigning Las Vegas King of Boylesque. And if you thought hula-hoops were for girls, think again.

The Rat Trap - Polytoxic
The Rat Trap - Polytoxic

Other members of the troupe, all with equally eclectic and impressive backgrounds includes body adorned Samoan chief (Natano Fa’anana), a hot brown bitch (Lisa Fa’alafi), a fabulous femme fatale (Leah Shelton) and a seven-foot Islander drag offender (Fez Fa’anana).

It’s great to see QTC step out of its comfort zone to present such an edgy, exciting work. QTC has some remaining sentiment of being the older, more conservative theatre company in Brisbane, but with the introduction of the Greenhouse initiative, the Artistic Director Wesley Enoch and Artistic Associate Todd Macdonald, have injected a little botox and sparkle into the company, appealing to a younger fringe audience.

With cabaret styled seating, this would be a memorable night out with a group of friends – the perfect Hen’s night comes to mind!

The Rat Trap by Polytoxic Dance Theatre is not only the pinnacle of theatrical escapism; it goes beyond to provide an experience. One so visceral and intangible that to try and project that experience through words would be like describing the emotions of a fish. You simply must buy a ticket and experience this dirty delightfully decadent treat for yourself.

 “I don’t know what I just saw, but I loved it!” – Jemma Lanyon.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

Bobbi-Lea is's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

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