FRINGEWORLD 2021 | Theatre of Bondage | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

What could be more quintessentially FRINGEWORLD than a show called Theatre of Bondage? It has everything you’d expect – ropes, kink culture, hot wax, a black box art studio located off Pier Street up a few hundred stairs. But here’s what you probably won’t expect – a beautifully crafted history lesson in sensuality and pleasure, tied up in emotional and fun artistic vignettes. This show is like the practice of bondage itself – a bit intimidating to get into but sexy and intriguing to watch. It takes elements of kink and exploits their natural theatricality, resulting in a dramatic and exciting show that you’ll keep coming back to in your mind.

Theatre of Bondage traces the history of Shibari, the Japanese ritual of erotic rope binding – because of course the Japanese came up with something like that. Your host with the most is Mr James Sta-Maria (aka Starma Llama!) and he mixes up the vignettes with personal stories, fun anecdotes, and facts about Shibari. Throughout the evening we are treated – and I mean treated as the show is a pleasure to watch – to a series of Shibari pieces that each serve to stimulate in a different way. There is a gateway bind to get you into the scene – Mandie Sta-Maria shows us the basic techniques with Daniel Campagnoli who then launches into a full routine with her, complete with ceiling truss and hot wax drips. I’m making it sound more violent than it is – the pair engage in an elegant dance placing trust in each other and the music and choreography combine to create a beautiful journey. Luna Agneya displays the self-love aspect of Shibari in a stunning and exciting expression of power over oneself.

Each dance is perfectly suited to the style and people performing it – Dany Cox and Jenna Elliott walk the tightrope of faith and trust while wholly deriving pleasure both for the binder and the bound. They demonstrate the heat and magnetism Shibati can bring while journeying through the process where the untying is as important as the tying. Wrapping things up with a group dance between Sta-Maria, Agneva and Tristen Tan the team show their fun side and keep things light and sexy with a cute routine that is hard to top. Theatre of Bondage is a sensual and exciting show that takes the fear out of bondage and ties up your evening in a neat little bow – and it even invites you to get involved but only with the safety of classes. Do not try this at home, but definitely think about it in the bedroom!

Theatre of Bondage has finished in Perth but is still available in Adelaide Fringe and you can get your tickets for the interstate shows HERE

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