Even if you don't celebrate the holidays, Brian Sanders' JUNK's 1.1 Holiday Revue Special will make you want to celebrate something, or just get drunk and fall down like the elongated, shabby clown featured in a skit late in the program. JUNK's 60-foot-high Christian Street performance space is in a portion of the sprawling Shiloh Baptist Church, and Sanders' dancers float, flop, and fly through every inch of it. With comedic timing and acrobatic elegance, JUNK proves it is one of the best aerial troupes in the country.
The costumes and many of the props are black and white, but the lighting, set designs, and music are all the color you need to light up the proceedings. It all begins with five dancers - three muscular men and two well-toned women dressed in stretchy one-piece togs. They tumble out with large gift boxes that they climb up, stand on, jump over, and stack to Esquivel's wildly campy cover of "Andalucia." Campiness and anarchic fun rampage through nearly every skit after that, many of which will be familiar and beloved to Sanders' fans.
For this revue, Sanders reinvents some well-known bits and adds new twists. Julia Higdon twirls around the stage as though on wobbly ice skates, with a tray of holiday drinks she serves the others. The world-famous Underwater Study Sanders created for MOMIX is "swum" here by Tommy Schimmel to Art of Noise's industrial clangs. It still stuns with its precise illusion of a perpendicular swimmer. Kelly Trevlyn does a beautiful, dreamy dance suspended in the hammock high above the audience.
A piece I've never seen before - all three men on a dreidel-like apparatus of three arced rods pinioned by a small ring at the bottom - provided the most dazzling and intricate aerial dancing I've seen in quite some time. Schimmel, Theodore Fatcher, and Peter Jones matched the apparatus' arcs with their dangling bodies in ever more inventive choreography and a celebration of male grace.
Jones then really got into his maestro role, wigged out in a wild profusion of yellow hair, and rigged onto his podium with special boots so he could lean in any direction and not fall over. Quite a good trick.
Whether it's tap dancing in two-liter soda bottles or high jumping on pogo sticks, this rollicking holiday revue is a treat with more than a few kickers.
1.1Holiday Revue Special
Presented by Brian Sanders' JUNK at 2040 Christian St.