By Michael Block
Have you ever wanted to see a spooky dance circus? Well Hideaway has delivered something unique in Slumber, a haunted delight ready for Halloween. With a mix of acrobatic tricks and choreographed treats set to a pulsating score, Slumber brings the audience into their world of visual wonder. But when you remember that directors Josh Aviner and Lyndsay Magid tried to incorporate a story into their little floorshow, the proverbial tent comes tumbling down.
Playing the stunning House of Yes, Slumber is an energetic night of performance from a talented troupe of acrobats and dancers who use the architecture of the space to tell the story of a girl who has a taste for blood. The painfully thin follows Mabel after a kinky night with a hunky guy leads her on a power trip of murderous revenge against her mean girl friends. Throwing in arial acts, contortion, dance, and much much more, Slumber pleases those thrill seekers but dies when it tries to be something greater than it can be. Like another similar New York based company that seems to experience similar traps, Company XIV, Hideaway tries to explore story and theme through the art of circus and burlesque while aspiring to be the next Cirque Du Soleil. The trouble that Aviner and Magid experience is trying to make this a flawless piece. Unfortunately the execution leaves much to be desired. To cover up the holes and set ups for the next act, Slumber suddenly breaks the fourth wall through monologues by Mabel. Whether it was weak writing or Lee Hubilla’s inability to improv, the direct addresses were nothing short of uncomfortable. That’s not to say she’s not charming or engaging, the material Hubilla had to work with was simply not flattering. As an emcee, her banter with the audience needed finessing. The concept is enthralling, but if the draw is the intrigue of circus and dance why even introduce a story?
If you like danger and the potential of a catastrophe, these performers will deliver. And perhaps whip you with a silk. There's no denying the spectacular talent in the blood. Joren Dawson surely knows how to work a pole. You simply can't keep your eyes off him, especially after that magical Spider-Man drop-in. Olga Karmansky was the Queen of the Contortion. Her Act II number was mesmerizing to say the least.
So how do you improve something like Slumber? Bring in an expert that knows how to execute an event like this. Hideaway has something potentially great on their hands but this product was not it. There are far too many flaws that detract from the beauty. But if the goal is to pull the wool over the untrained eye, audiences looking for a good time will likely have fun. But don’t think you actually get a say in who lives and who dies. That’s just a gimmick to attempt to explain the immersive.