This time last year, acrobatic troupe YUCK Circus were rising stars, about to set off on another year of international touring.
Within just two years since forming , they had managed to pick up the prestigious Martin Sims Award for Best WA Production at Fringe World, the Best Emerging Artist at Adelaide Fringe and had taken to the stage at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
They had also taken their show to the high seas, performing for a cruise ship crowd before the vessels were sent back to shore.
But, when COVID hit, like many other artists and performers around the world, more than a year’s worth of work dried up within weeks.
“Last year was going to be huge and it was the first time we had a bunch of pre-paid shows and full seasons in the United Kingdom,” director and Broome-raised Georgia Deguara said.
“To see two years’ worth of work get cancelled in two weeks and have to continuously send out emails to the girls telling them…it was pretty heartbreaking.”
When borders began shutting the group disbanded and each headed back to their home states, leaving them unable to train together for most of the year.
With the ever-changing border restrictions still unfolding, it is no small feat that five of the seven have managed to come together in WA, with troupe managing to squeeze in just two weeks of training before launching two new shows, which will be running throughout this year’s month-long Fringe World Festival, which kicks off tomorrow night.
“It has been very difficult but we are very grateful that we are lucky enough to be here,” Deguara said.
“We have been waiting for this for a year, we are so ready.”
After spending the last year separated (and with their other two members stuck in Belfast and South Australia), they are eagerly awaiting their return to the Spiegeltent stage.
While Deadset presents the larrikin humour and high-flying acrobatics YUCK have become known for, their late-night show Off Chops (performed by Jessica Smart and Ella Norton) presents a love-letter to an activity many surprisingly missed when it was temporarily taken away—night clubbing.
“We had sweet memories of things that were actually so gross and terrible…but it’s an homage to late nights, sweaty dancing and kebab runs,” Norton said.
Unapologetically feminist, their last show saw the girls don drawn-on moustaches and well-endowed crotches, making fun of toxic masculinity and addressing taboo topics like menstruation and binge drinking.
“Our shows are all about having a good time and not necessarily being sexy or beautiful while doing it,” Norton said.
“Although being those things are awesome, it is nice to be able to take up space and show we can do other things as well.”
Realistic about the fact they won’t be touring internationally for a while yet, the girls jumped at the chance to write a show specifically for an Australian audience.
“We are talking Nollsy, we are talking Kath and Kim, we are talking sexy tradies with their choc milk,” Deguara says.
“It’s pretty much a p… take.”
Deadset runs from January 15 to February 13 and will be held in the Lotterywest De Parel Spiegeltent at The Woodside Pleasure Garden.
Off Chops runs from January 16 until February 13 and will be held at the Big Top at The Woodside Pleasure Garden.
Tickets available from https://fringeworld.com.au/