Circus Review: Matador is a thrilling mix of burlesque, dance, and circus acts (The Melba Spiegeltent until 2nd March)

A thrilling, beautiful, and jaw-dropping production. Matador is a fusion of burlesque, high energy dance pieces, and jaw-dropping aerial acts, all set to a story inspired the tale of the love torn bull and the seductive matador.

The two-hour production is a thrilling series of electric solo and group dance numbers with awe inspiring circus aerial acts backed up by an incredible soundtrack of modern music. Right from the opening act you could feel the energy in the room as the story got underway and the impressively well-choreographed dance sequences begun. Each and every dance act, of which there are many, felt unique from those that came before, so you’ll never feel as though you’re watching the same sequence with slight modifications.

The diversity of dance styles throughout the show is great, in some much as that you really do get a bit of everything. Whether you’re looking for contemporary acts, ballet, latin numbers, burlesque acts or all of the above Matador has them all, and there is more than enough going on to fill the entire runtime. The choreography in here is both intense and beautiful and very well orchestrated across the entirety of the production, with plenty of action to keep your eye on at all times. A handful of sequences in particular stand out with incredible choreography but I won’t spoil the details here.

Now the dancing may be the core of the production but you cannot neglect the aerial acts intertwined amongst these sequences, because they are undeniably stunning to watch. Every time someone goes airborne it’s mesmerising and only makes you wish you could do the same. Considering the space available to the performers in these aerial acts their execution and precision was flawless, making these difficult stunts all seem so effortless.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a show without the music and the lighting, both of which were exceptional throughout. The lighting and the music to a degree played a major role in determining the tone of each sequence and whether it was going to be a calmer and more flirtatious dance or a more aggressive and fiery number. The tone, theme, and atmosphere derived from or emphasised by the lighting and music was a great element and really hooked you into everything going on onstage, making the most of the tight and intimate venue.

The show is led by a great ensemble cast, where every performer was fantastic. The spotlight was not just on the Bull (Ned Zaina) and the Matador (Kelly Byrne) the entire time. Whilst their role and their story may have been at the forefront, it really did feel like a tight team effort where everyone got their moment to shine. I for one was more into the spectacle of the dance and circus acts as opposed to the story itself, which just didn’t grab me as much. But, that’s not to take anything away from the effort put in by everyone involved.

Matador is a very fine-tuned production where the amazing dance choreography, aerial acts, performances, music, and lighting all work together to create a thrilling experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s little room for improvement and I absolutely recommend checking this out before it goes if it sounds like your sort of thing.


Matador is being held at The Melba Spiegeltent through to March 2nd. For more information and tickets click HERE