Mansion + Witch

Jackie McMillan
4th Nov 2023

Messing around with your dead ex. is nothing new for anyone old enough to remember the movie Ghost (1990), however writer, director and producer of Mansion ($50–$120), Bass G. Fam, has kicked things up a notch. In this show, dead Daddy, Mark Waller (Timmy J Hickey) dances up a ghostly storm with his daughter (Issy Fox) and son (Lukas White) as well as his ex-wife. The energetic man-on-man pas de deux between Hickey and White being the standout of the three similar numbers. If you’re familiar with Fam’s previous work — Matador and Oracle — Mansion leans a bit harder into dance and theatrical storytelling than the trademark circus acts. When feature acts do occur, some, like the stacked chair routine, fall a bit flat by finishing somewhat prematurely. Chloe Sismanis, as the acrobatic flower girl, is a notable standout. The show, which reads like a dancer recreating famous horror scenes from a variety of haunted houses, is currently playing at Sydney Spiegeltent as part of a double-header with Witch. If you like one of them, you’ll probably like ‘em both. 

Witch ($35) builds directly upon the successful formula Fam developed for Oracle where the framework of the show unites a series of feature acts into something more coherent. To my eye the feature acts in Oracle were, in most cases, significantly better than the ones in Witch. Some, like hair-hanging Katrina Lilwall and bodacious Bettie Bombshell are common to both shows, though I preferred the latter’s whip cracking’ number in Oracle to the vanity mirror routine in Witch. As Witch is just a preview of what is intended to be a longer production, it’s a bit light-on in the narrative storytelling, at times coming off more titillating Suicide Girls than powerful coven. 

Where Fam’s talent seems to lie is in creating visual spectacles. Across both shows there are some entertaining production numbers where the collective of witches or dead Daddy and the undead bust out moves together. Costuming — again across both shows — is full of diaphanous robes (black for Witch, peach or white for Mansion) that are put to good effect for even more eye candy. Both shows employ popularist musical scores (Rory Waters from Sound Moda) that bounce around a bit much for my liking, but will likely work for those not deeply imbued in either the world of burlesque or contemporary dance. Look, these are not shows that will win awards, but they’re both fun to consume in the lush red surrounds of tent-like Sydney Spiegeltent. Did I mention there’s a bar?